Trio of Trouble

DEJA VU: I didn’t take a picture of DH changing the most recent flat tire, so here’s a couple of pictures of the flat tire we had on I-80 E coming back from our trip to the Pacific Northwest two years ago. The tire went flat just past Chicago on a section of road reputed to be the worst.

Oh, give thanks to the LORD for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. – Psalm 107:1 NKJV

I got up early one Sunday morning three weeks ago to work on my sermon, but the bottom two rows of my computer keyboard didn’t work. I couldn’t even use the spacebar.

Then, on the way to church, we had a flat tire on the camper. We’d planned to leave for the Allegheny National Forest for a camping trip right after church.

On Monday morning, I put in my hearing aids, but one didn’t work. After I changed the battery, it still didn’t work.

“It’s dead,” I told DH. “Kaput.”

I couldn’t get an appointment with my hearing aid guy until August 6. So I went two weeks feeling off-balance, out of sync. And asking “What?” a lot.

I lamented on Facebook, listing my trio of woes.

“Trouble comes in threes,” one friend commented. “I’m so happy all your troubles are over!”

If only.

“God is good,” people say when their prayers are answered in the manner they want. When unexpected blessings come their way. When life is smooth sailing.

But how many say “God is good” when their prayers aren’t answered the way they want, and heaven’s blessing doors seem shut tight? Do they say “God is good” when trouble comes and moves in for an extended stay?

We sing, “God is good all the time,” but do we live the lyrics?

We should. Because the God we believe in on the mountain is still God in the valleys of our lives. “The God of the good times is still God in the bad times. The God of the day is still God in the night.”*

I’m learning firsthand the truth of the words Paul wrote to the Philippian believers: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7 NLT).

Over and over these words have come to mind this year. This Scripture has become my theme verse for the year—not one I chose at the beginning of January, but one that chose me through life experiences.

And so I’ve refused to fret over the broken keyboard, the flat tire, and the dead hearing aid. Although money is tight with DH being retired now.

I ordered a new keyboard, which I’m still getting used to. (I miss my old one.) At a little over $30, it didn’t break the bank.

We went camping on the spare tire. And had one of the most wonderfully relaxing, refreshing, and rejuvenating trips in a long time.

DH determined we needed to replace all four tires on the camper, since they were on when it bought it last year and we didn’t know how many miles they’d traveled. Gulp! But he did his research, and the final bill totaled a couple hundred less than what we first figured. (Is anyone out there in the market for some good but used camper tires?)

And finally, the dead hearing aid. When I visited my hearing aid guy this week, he discovered the problem wasn’t in the aid itself but in a replaceable filter. Instead of over a grand or more for a new hearing aid, I paid the usual $25 for a clean and check.

“God has a reason for allowing things to happen,” I read online today. “We may never understand His wisdom, but we simply have to trust His will.”

All in all, it could have been worse. I am blessed. God is good. Even when trouble comes in threes.

Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord. –Psalm 107:43 NLT

Remind me, Lord, when troubles come, that You are still in control and I am still blessed. Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 37.

*From Tracy Dartt’s “God on the Mountain

© 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Disappointing Season

Why, O my soul, are you downcast? – Psalm 42:11 NIV

Of all the months of the year, October is my favorite. There isn’t a thing I don’t like about it, except it’s only 31 days.

The cooler temperatures bring on sweater season, cuddle season, soup and stew season, and the first fire in the wood burner. The hillsides explode in brilliant splashes of scarlet, gold, orange. The shorter daylight hours hint at long, relaxing evenings by the wood burner, reading and crocheting.

Ah, autumn . . . Author Lee Maynard called it “the season of the year that God seemed to put there just for the beauty of it.”

“If I were a bird,” wrote George Eliot, “I would fly about the earth seeking successive autumns.”

This year, I wish I could fly about the earth seeking autumn! Because it certainly seems to have bypassed us in these parts.

Too much precipitation and unseasonably warm temperatures have resulted in a disappointing fall season. Rain and wind teamed up to snatch dying leaves from the trees before they had a chance to turn. Three weeks into October, the red maple in front of my house is still green, although half its leaves are gone. And how I looked forward to the bright orange glow infusing my dining room!

I took for granted the October leaves would always be vibrant, the temperatures would always turn cooler, and I would snuggle under warmer blankets. I never expected the leaves to go straight from late-summer green to drab brown, or to wear shorts and flip flops when I longed to wrap myself in my favorite sweater and putter around the house in my soft, sheep-fur-lined moccasins.

I expected October to always be brilliant and beautiful.

When our expectations collide with reality, disappointment crashes in.

My disappointment with the season pales in comparison to disappointment with the way life often turns out.

We expect good; we get bad.

We expect health, we get illness.

We expect fair weather; we get wind and rain and storms.

We expect faithfulness; we get betrayal.

We expect to enjoy a long, happy, loving marriage; we get widowhood and loneliness much sooner than we expected.

We expect a comfortable income; we get too much month at the end of the money.

We expect reward for all our hard work; we get more hard work with no reward in sight.

We expect the garden to produce a bountiful harvest. We get blight, bugs, and bad weather.

But God never promised us a charmed life, did He?

He never promised nothing bad would ever happen to us. But He does promise to work all things for our good (Romans 8:28). It may not by what we planned, but His plans are for our good (Jeremiah 29:11) and are exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20; Isaiah 55:8–9).

He never promised us a life free of troubles, trials, and tribulations. In fact, Jesus said we should expect them (John 16:33). But He did promise to be us through them (Isaiah 43:2).

He never promised to give us all we want. But He did promise to provide us with everything we need (Matthew 6:25–33, and Philippians 4:19).

He never promised we’d never be alone. But He did promise to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

He never promised we wouldn’t suffer the pains of growing old, but He did promise to sustain and carry us through our golden years (Isaiah 46:4).

He never promised other people, particularly those we love, wouldn’t disappoint us. But He did promise to be all we need (Lamentations 3:21–26).

He never promised us a battle-free life. But He did promise us victory (John 16:33).

His Word is filled with His promises to His children.

The world, your family, your friends, your life may disappoint you.

But God never will.

When I’m enduring a season of disappointment, Lord, help me to hear Your whispers of hope. Amen.

 Read and meditate on Psalm 42.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.