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.

The Well, the Ram, and Jehovah Jireh

“Hagar in the Wilderness”
Artist: Camille Corot (French, Paris 1796–1875 Paris) | Date: 1835

And then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. – Genesis 21:19 (NIV)

Abraham looked up and . . . saw a ram. – Genesis 22:13

I’ve always felt that Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian maidservant, got a raw deal. Her job was to serve her mistress. This she did. And what did it get her? Not five gold stars for obedience, that’s for sure.

We first meet her in the pages of ancient Scripture when barren Sarah decides the only way she’ll have children is to order her maidservant to sleep with her husband. Any child conceived as a result would then be considered Sarah’s. Legally.

So Hagar sleeps with the big man and conceives. Sarah’s abuse of the pregnant maidservant is so harsh that Hagar runs away. But God meets her in the wilderness, gives her a blessing, and sends her back. Fast forward about 15 years to the weaning celebration of Abraham and Sarah’s miracle baby, Isaac. Sarah spots half-brother Ishmael taunting the little guy and runs to Abraham. “Get rid of that slave woman and her son!” she orders him.

The next morning, Abraham gives Hagar some food and water and sends her off into the wilderness.

When the water was gone, she put Ishmael under a bush and went off a short distance, where she sat sobbing, “I cannot watch him die.”

Once again God meets her in the wilderness. I love how the writer of Genesis describes what happens next: “God heard the boy crying” (Genesis 21:17) and “God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water” (v. 19).

They do not die in the wilderness. Ishmael becomes “a great nation,” as God promised his mother.

Fast forward again, this time to Abraham and Isaac on a mountain on the land of Moriah, where God has sent Abraham on a mission: “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, and . . . sacrifice him there as a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:2).

They were almost there when Isaac asks, “Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

I used to wonder if Abraham’s answer, “God himself will provide the lamb,” was a cop-out. I mean, would he really tell Isaac he was the offering? And I used to think Abraham lied when he told the servants to wait at the bottom of the mountain: “I and the boy will go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you” (Genesis 22:5, emphasis mine).

Image by rjmcsorley on Pixabay

Then on the mountain, just after God has stayed his hand from plunging the sacrificial knife into Isaac’s heart, “Abraham looked up and . . . saw a ram,” which he sacrificed in place of Isaac.

Did the ram just happen to be there? Or had it been there all along, making its way up the mountain and getting itself stuck in the thicket just as Abraham looked up?

Did the well that provided life-giving water to Hagar and Ishmael just happen to be there? Some commentators say it was there all along, but Hagar, in her physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual condition, just didn’t see it. Some say it was well hidden.

The answer to these questions is the name that Abraham gives to the mountain: “The-LORD-Will-Provide”(YHWH Yireh or Jehovah Jireh).

The Hebrew word used for “provide” also means “to see.”

God is still Jehovah Jireh today.

Thank you, Lord, for reminding me of the value of every person on this planet. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son . . .” (John 3:16). Amen.

Read and reflect on Genesis 21:14–21; 22:1–19

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor with your time with God  © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.