Monday, August 13, 2012

A Small Deer and a Lot of Crow

Today I want to talk about a failure of mine.  Last Friday, I had an accident with a deer and damaged my 3-month old Jeep.  Anyone who has ever wrecked a new car knows how that feels.  My reaction, however, on Friday night was nothing becoming of a Christian.  I was angry, I was upset, and it was all about me and how I was going to solve this problem.  I would not call it a struggle of faith, that would be too kind.  What I had, for the moment, was a complete failure of faith. 
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV
My reaction was the complete antithesis of this verse.  Let's examine where I went wrong.  First of all, Paul tells us "Be anxious for nothing."  I was anxious for everything.  I was mad that my new car was wrecked.  I was mad at how long it would be tied up for being repaired. I was mad that we could not use our bikes because the bike rack is on that car.  I was anxious at how I was going to come up with $750.00 for a deductible.  I was anxious at how we would budget for higher insurance if it goes up.  I was anxious for how cars would work out with one being tied up. I was anxious for the delays in my plans for what I wanted to do with my Jeep.  I was even anxious because I would be eating dinner too late and I might get heartburn.  I really was very anxious and for just about everything. 

My greatest failure could be summed up in one letter: "I."  It was all about "I."  How was "I" going to come up with money.  What am "I" going to do about "my" plans.   All I could see was myself and my own problems and trying to figure out my own solutions.  I completely forgot about God.  It was never about how I was going to do anything and if my plans were God's plans then God knew about this hiccup when He made those plans in the first place.  If those plans were not God's plans then I did not need to be doing them anyway.  I was anxious because I was not looking up.  I was looking at my Jeep, I was looking at the debris in the road, I was looking at my future and my bank account, but I was not looking at God.  I was not looking up.  I forgot that God knew this would happen.  I forgot that God promises to get me through.  My wife tried to remind me, but I was too busy looking at myself to hear her or look to God.  I would have had a much better night if I would only have looked up to the God who promises to take care of me. 

Next Paul says "but in everything by prayer and supplication."  If I was not looking up, I certainly was not praying.  I was whining, I was yelling, I was acting out, but I certainly was not praying.  Even when my wife asked about taking that time, I did not want to hear anything of it.  I do not know if I was angry at God, ashamed at my own behavior, or a combination of the two, but I had zero desire to pray.  That was completely foolish on my part.  Why would I not take the time to pray?  Why would I not take the time to bring this problem to God?  The answer, once again, was the dreaded "I."  I wanted to wallow in my own misery.  I did not want to feel better, I wanted to be angry.  I wanted to act out.  I wanted the world to take a moment and recognize my own problems.  I was completely selfish in my response.  How things could have been if I just took that time!

Then Paul says "with thanksgiving."  I think you know where this is going.  Even when my wife tried to remind me that no one was hurt and that things could have been much worse, I did not want to hear about it.  I did not care that we were OK more than I cared about the damage to my car.  I did not care that things were not worse, I was just angry that they were as bad as they are.  I did not take a moment to consider that God knew this was going to happen and had a purpose behind it, I only cared about my own purposes.  I was the complete opposite of thankful.  I was resentful.  I did not say "thank you God for keeping us safe."  I said "Why did this even happen at all?"  I completely and utterly failed in every possible way when it came to being thankful. 

Being that I completely failed the beginning, I completely missed out on the promise: "and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  I had no peace.  I had no reassurance.  This is not because God did not want me to have it, it is because I refused to receive it by my own actions.  God said that this peace that rises above all understanding and in any circumstance is available to anyone who looks to Him in their time of trouble.  I had no peace because I did not act in such a way to receive that peace.  I was scared, angry, and depressed.  I acted frantically and rashly and jumped to all kinds of conclusions that would not even come to be.  I was miserable and it was all my fault. 

Please learn from my failures.  I know I have!  I would like to say that from now on I will act perfectly in times of crisis, but this is an area that God continues to work on in me.  I eventually come around, but only after much unneeded stress.  God does not want me to stress, God wants to give me peace.  In fact, God tells me exactly how to get that peace but for whatever reason I choose not to seek after it.  The truth is that, first of all, things could have been worse.  My wife or I could have been hurt.  The deer hit right in front of my front wheel and we could have lost control, flipped over, or ran into a tree or oncoming traffic.  When the deer bounced off my car, it could have gone into another car.  As for insurance, this is covered under comprehensive where there is only a $50.00 deductible.  Nothing of what I feared came to pass.  I worried for absolutely nothing because I chose not to trust God who knew all this was going to happen.  How do I know that God knew this was going to happen?  A few months ago, my wife and I changed insurance companies.  While signing up, the lady from the insurance company asked me why I kept my comprehensive deductible so high ($750.00).  I said it was to save money, but she checked and it was only an extra $3.00 a month to change that deducible down to $50.00.  I thought and prayed and felt that the correct decision was to pay a little more for that extra protection.  God knew months ago that this was going to happen and I can not help but to believe that He led this lady to bring up the lower deductible and led me to accept it.  God knew this was going to happen and set things up to protect us when the time came.  Some may ask why God did not prevent the accident to begin with.  He could have, but I would never have known and this story never would have been written.  God allowed this to happen, protecting us from it hurting us financially or physically, and created this testimony to His awesome provision and protection.  That is how amazing our God is. 

Again, learn from my failures, and remember this important passage from Philippians.  God promises us peace and provision, all we need to do is take the time to seek it when faced with a crisis.  As for worry about how things will work out in the end or what may come of this, I think Jesus said it best.
Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, [will He] not much more [clothe] you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day [is] its own trouble.   Matthew 6:25-34 NKJV

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