Not too long ago my husband and I took our eight children on an out-of-town adventure. We were packed snugly into the Suburban on an unfamiliar road in a secluded place at night. We could see only by the glow of our headlights and a sky full of stars.
In that beautiful, peaceful setting a clunking sound emerged from the Suburban. Even without mechanical expertise we could hear and feel that something was wrong. I began to panic. Our cell phones had no service in this remote location and my imagination ran wild. I envisioned a sleepless night stranded alongside the road followed by a monumental bill from a backwoods mechanic.
Not knowing what else to do, we pressed forward toward our destination … slowly, carefully. The clunking would stop for a time and then resume. I prayed with all my heart that everything would be okay. If our vehicle could work, that would be ideal. But I would even be grateful if it would just wait to die until we were in a better situation. And I was hoping no permanent damage would result from our continuing to drive it.
For more than an hour I pled my case to God.
My prayers were answered. We made it all the way to our intended destination where we had a wonderful time together as a family and got the help we needed to drive home without incident.
Even now as I remember that night, my heart is filled with relief and gratitude!
What took place helped me to internalize something I think I already knew. I am completely dependent upon my Heavenly Father. I depend upon Him for every beat of my heart and for every breath I take. But because these things come as an effortless gift, I take them for granted. In fact, I take most blessings for granted.
Until the Suburban starts to clunk, I sometimes overlook my Heavenly Father.
When everything goes smoothly in my life it can be like a spiritual anesthetic. I begin to forget God because I am comfortable. It is out of tender affection that He allows me to be uncomfortable at times. He allows me to struggle through trials and difficulties, through weakness and temptation (2 Cor. 12:9).
Heavenly Father allows adversity so that I will turn to Him. And it’s not out of transcendent vanity, it’s because he loves me and knows that I do need Him. I need direction in my life from someone with greater knowledge and perspective (Prov 3:5-6). I need strength and enabling power when life is overwhelming (Phil 4:11-13). I need divine love, affection and validation (1 John 4:16). I need peace and rest from worry (Matt 11: 28-29). I need forgiveness from sin and an opportunity for eternal life (John 3:17).
The truth is I NEED GOD! How sad it would be to go through life unaware!
At this time of Thanksgiving, I give thanks for a Heavenly Father so tender and loving that he blesses me abundantly with good things. And I give thanks that He lets me struggle so that I receive opportunities to recognize my dependence upon Him and turn with greater humility, loyalty and love to the source of everything I truly need.