Take Heart!

We never really know what each day holds. As Christians, when we step out, we have faith that no matter what comes our way, God is able to give us the strength, wisdom and ability to handle it. We also hold to the promise that He will be our ever present help in times of need(Ps46). David and I were reminded of this just recently as we set out for our long summer vacation in Colorado. We make this trip about twice a year, by car, and we don’t normally have any challenges along the way. However, this trip proved to be something different, entirely!

It all started just a few hours north of Fort Worth. I was driving, David was sleeping, and the kids were so plugged in to their electronics in the back of the van, they had no idea what was going on around them. I was driving about 75 mph, with an 18 wheeler to my right, a guard rail to my left, and a car not far behind me, when seemingly out of no where a huge tire casing appeared in my lane. I had about 3 seconds to make a decision…unable to go left or right, and unable to slow down quickly due to the car at my rear, I decided to aim the van straight at the tire casing and straddle it with my tires. The tire fragment went under the car, and as it did, it slammed against the bottom of the van. As I drove on all appeared fine, so I kept driving.

An hour or so further down the road, we stopped at a gas station to stretch our legs. David went inside, and when he came back out, he asked, “Amy, did you hit something in the road when you were driving?” I tilted my head and said, “Why do you ask?” He said, “Babe, the bumper is about to fall off the car.” Sure enough, I looked back and was surprised to see the bumper hanging down, nearly to the ground. When the tire had hit under the car, all the underside bumper pins had snapped and were unable to sit on the bolts meant to hold it up. Needing a quick solution, with no auto shops in site, we went for the universal fix all – duck tape and zip ties. We rigged up the bumper and kept driving.

 A few more hours later, while David was driving, he ran over perhaps the only live armadillo I’ve ever seen on a Texas road. It also slammed under the car, so we stopped and looked – the bumper was still on. So on we went until 6:00 am, when we stopped in a small Colorado mountain town to switch drivers. We were just a few hours from our destination. As we slowed, we heard a thump, thump, thump sound from beneath the car. Sure enough, we had a flat tire. I’m talking, rim on the ground, totally flat tire! I was half awake, groggy from sleeping in the car, and all I could think about was how much I wanted a cup of coffee. As we pulled off the road to put the spare on, I glanced across the street, and like a vision from heaven I saw a small, local coffee shop sitting on the corner. The open sign was soon placed in the window and I was blessed with one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had. A sweet, Christian woman ran the place and scripture signs decorated the wall. I knew it was a God touch in the midst of an eventful journey, and I couldn’t help but thank Him for his kindness.

You could say our journey was quite an adventure – one we have laughed at many times, both during the trip and after. But it was also an example of what life is like; we go along our way and suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, obstacles and challenges appear. It makes me think of Jesus’ words in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble.”… then comes the hope instilling second part of that verse, when Jesus said,” But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

As Jesus’ words remind us, we are never promised a problem free journey in this life. And when the tough times come we have a choice… Are we going to focus on the struggles and challenges, or are we going to focus on God and His provision in the midst of them? Focusing on God fills us with hope, courage, and strength for the journey; joy that transcends any challenges that may come our way; and grace to handle any situation.

If you are facing any struggles today, I would love to encourage you to fix your eyes on Jesus; look for His love and grace in the midst of the journey. And as you do, I pray you are reminded of God’s power, provision and peace; and that you are filled with hope and joy to overflowing.  

Copyright © 2011 by Amy O’Donnell. All Rights Reserved

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