Archive for June 1, 2011

Hello, all. Welcome to June…vacation month. School is out, for many, the weather is hot, and I have no doubt that many of you will be hitting the road very soon in search of great adventures…and possibly some much needed Advil as a result of those adventures. Nevertheless, the roads will be full of travelers. Last month, we took a slight departure from our road trip to hit the skies and ‘Lighten the Load’. If I may, I’d like to bring us back to the black top…or should I say, repair shop.

What is the last thing you want to have happen when you are a few hundred miles away from home? Oh, the answers are endless and certainly depend on a number of factors. There are a few that come to mind right away: someone gets sick (of course), a flat tire, blown hose, credit card trouble, DVD player in the back seat goes down, etc…For me, it’s the “Check Engine” light. Why? It can produce a level of uncertainty which could lead to feelings of uneasiness, anger, frustration, doubt, even fear. From something harmless to something “shut down engine” serious, that little light could be triggered by anything. However, there are God-elements to every frustrating situation, I call them divinely facilitated opportunities, that we often miss unless we are able to look past the situation at hand and are willing to be open to seeing things as God sees them or be used as He intends to use us. For example…

This year while on a trip with my family, the “Check Engine” light came on in our 1999 Suburban. It got my attention but we didn’t drive it the rest of the weekend so I didn’t think much about it until we started home. We hadn’t gone 5 miles before the car began to act up. I wasn’t going to take any chances. We went to a local auto parts store that does the free error code scan. I got the codes and a recommended repair shop. So I took my family back to our relatives’ house, unloaded it and them, and then took the family bus to the recommended shop. Based on the computer scan, I was looking at a rather costly repair…well over $600 between parts, labor, diagnostics, etc…. To be honest, I was a bit discouraged. I did NOT have the money to pay for car repairs. But rather than get upset, which is usually my reaction, I accepted there wasn’t much I could do about it and began to pray and ask God to reveal why I was there because the repair shop was NOT where I wanted to spend the day. Besides the obvious, the car issue meant we were going to miss my son’s baseball game. Did I also mention I am the head coach? Despite this, I knew in my heart there was a reason that I was there that had absolutely nothing to do with the Suburban. I just felt it.

The parts associated with the codes were replaced. Problem now…the error codes remained. I had to laugh. After some further diagnostics and voltage checks the problem was found…a blown fuse. Needless to say, the repair was not as costly as anticipated. And even though every indication and troubleshooting result said one thing, the actual problem was something completely different…and in hindsight, much more simple. The shop owner, an accomplished technician, was clearly embarrassed…and said as much. He said that he had never seen that before. I told him there was no need to be embarrassed. He did all he knew to do and followed the obvious path resulting from what the indications told him. During my time at the shop and through our conversations, I realized he was a man of faith…affirming that I was there for a reason. To make a long story short, as we were wrapping up I was able to share with him about Servant Warrior Ministries, give him some Full Armor prayer cards that he could use and pass onto others, and hopefully gained a new friend. He said it was funny that we were having this conversation because his pastor’s message the day before was about stepping out of our comfort zones and why we don’t reach out to others. You know, I always smile when someone hints at irony because I know there is NO irony or coincidences when you are dealing with God.

Why did all this happen? Why was I pointed to that shop and not another? Why did He keep me there 5 hours? Why did God place an undeniable prompting on my heart that there was a reason I was there that morning? I don’t know. I hope that one day I find out. One thing I do know is that it was God working in and through me that kept me from losing my cool. Additionally, I am pretty confident that what happened at the end of my 5 hour visit to the repair shop would not have happened or would likely have had no impact if I hadn’t been open to God’s prompting and whisper…realizing that all was not what it seemed.  We never know how God will orchestrate and use circumstances. We just have to always be ready.

None of us know the future. Nor are things always what they seem. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Allow things to play out, especially those that have the potential of being less than optimal, and ask God to show Himself and His will through the circumstance. Trust me. If you will ask Him to give you perspective and discernment so as not to miss an opportunity or hinder His work through you…because of you…you will be amazed at God’s faithfulness. I was…and always am. We serve a truly faithful God. Keep it real…and Armor Up.

As featured in the June 2011 Issue of Power Source Magazine,