As soon as I started the car Monday morning, I knew something wasn’t quite right. But it had been raining for two days, and historically, the battery sometimes just needs a little extra time to get warmed up in such conditions.
But as I pulled out of my neighborhood, I realized whatever was wrong wasn’t correcting itself, and it seemed I was at risk of the engine choking out at any moment. So instead of heading to work (because there is little that terrifies me more than the car breaking down on the side of the road. seriously.), I drove the shorter distance to my parents’ house, not able to go more than 40-45 mph. And let’s just not even talk about the car’s distress on hills and at stoplights. Once at my parents’ house, I knew my Mom could drive me to work and my Dad could look at the car after work. (Huge shout out of thanks to both of my parents!)
By mid-morning, safely at work but with the knowledge that I was either facing a new car purchase before I was fully prepared or a likely substantial repair, I knew that the correct response to this situation was something along the lines of James 1:2
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…”
And while I was incredibly grateful that I had started the morning in focused prayer, to at least give me a fighting chance to maintain proper perspective … even uttering these very words, “Lord, this day is all yours” … this wasn’t exactly how I would have planned for that prayer to be lived out.
So as I reflected on the right response, to count it all joy, realizing that I was pretty much failing miserably at it, my thoughts shifted towards what this passage wasn’t saying, to hopefully better understand what it was saying.
It wasn’t really saying to find the silver lining that somehow made the circumstance ok.
And it wasn’t really saying to be happy about what just went down.
But it was saying to count it all joy because of what was coming.
“…for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Because there is great hope and expectation in what lies ahead after and because of the trial: steadfastness which leads to perfection and completeness.
That’s where the joy is rooted. In the assurance and security of that promise.
It’s letting the worry and concern and circumstances fade in the light of Jesus Christ. It’s moving closer to Him in faith regardless of the trial. It’s knowing and trusting and abiding.
Honestly, even with all of that at the forefront of my heart and mind, I still feel like in many ways I failed. I knew the right response. And my flesh continued to battle with my spirit over it all day.
But at the end of the day, if nothing else, I just know.
I know I’m a day closer, a circumstance closer, to Him.
I know a rest in my soul because I know He’s here in the midst of my car issues and my heart issues.
And for today, maybe that’s enough.
Because He’s enough.