While I was at Thursday night’s Chamber of Commerce dinner, I got a call from my wife. I didn’t answer immediately because I was talking to someone else, and I consider taking phone calls in the middle of a conversation rude. When the opportunity presented itself, I stepped out of the crowd to check my phone. I had a text from Mary. “Car broke down on the way home from Wrens. Dad is coming to pick us up.” Oh no!
I immediately called her and got the details. Mary drove down to Wrens to pick up David Jude from a chess tournament. On the way back, about 10 minutes from home, the van lost power and died. Thankfully she was able to pull over to the side of the road before it completely stopped.
She was pretty peaceful when I talked to her in spite of the darkness and the rain. Her dad was already on the way and she was in the middle of calling roadside assistance. She went home and a few hours later the tow truck found our van and brought it back to our house. I have a mechanic who does house calls who will be stopping by on Monday to see if he can bring it back to life.
A Desert Time.
Today, I’m in the position of owning zero functional vehicles. The truck I drive to work belongs to my parents. I borrowed it when my Nissan’s engine blew a head gasket. I still haven’t figured out how I’m going to fix that one.
Yet somehow, I’m still peaceful. After I got home and helped Mary put the kids to bed, I started praying while I washed the dishes. “Lord, what is this all about? What are You trying to teach me?”
What immediately came to mind was Meribah and Massah, where the Israelites complained of their thirst and angered the Lord. Moses struck the rock with his staff, water flowed out to quench their thirst, but the damage was done. Because of their grumbling, the Lord said, “They will never enter into my rest.”
God had already shown them His power by making dry ground in the middle of the Red Sea. Yet they didn’t have enough faith to imagine that He could take the desert wasteland and make it a place of springs. Their thirst, their fear, prevented them from trusting in the Lord.
Who’s Testing Who?
The Lord deliberately lead them to that dry place in the desert. He had something awesome prepared for them. He knew they needed water. Yet instead of faith, they hardened their hards. Psalm 95 says they tested and provoked the Lord, even though they had seen His works.
I don’t want to test God. I’d like to avoid wandering 40 years in the desert, thank you very much. And I can see that right now, He’s testing me. Will I look back at the amazing things that the Lord has done in my life and find enough reason to trust Him in this moment of trial?
The Lord is cheating a little bit. He wants me to pass the test. The first reading for Mass yesterday made me laugh out loud when I read it. The book of Hebrews, chapter 13 reads:
“Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never forsake you or abandon you.’ Thus we may say with confidence: ‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?'”
This reading was so on point that Mary texted me quoting it. She also sees it as a confirmation that God wants us not to worry about what is going to happen.
Driving into work yesterday, I got stuck on the phrase “Give us this day our daily bread” from the Our Father. I prayed the phrase over and over. Not stressing out, not desperately, but as an act of faith.
The scripture that keeps coming to mind is the one where Jesus says, “The Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” God knows what I need. And apparently, what I need is an opportunity to see Him at work in the desert.
Sometimes the daily bread that I need and the daily bread that I want are two different things. Do I trust God enough to eat the manna that He provides? Is my relationship with Him solid enough that I can rejoice when He decides to give me thirst when what I want is a cold beer?
Astoundingly, the answer is yes. My heart is peaceful. God will provide the transportation that my family needs. He may do it through the mechanic who is coming next week. Or He might do something more interesting. It really doesn’t matter. Just like Mary’s father, who went to pick her up when the van broke down, my Heavenly Father won’t leave me stranded.
Jesus snatched me out of the darkness and saved me from complete madness. If you want to hear more of that story, check out Demoniac, now available on Amazon.