It all started in the middle of a precarious curve in the road. Steam filtered up either side of my truck, and I could go neither forward nor backward. Luckily, my good friend Abe was helping me at work that day, and between the two of us we were able to clear truck, trailer, and everything inside my trailer off the road one step at a time, without getting run over.
The diagnosis was a toasted transmission. That's how October started.
Still, I wasn't particularly depressed. I knew my truck was going to have some big thing like that eventually, and early October wasn't the worst time in the world for it to happen. So I borrowed another truck and got back to work.
My second down came in a moment of shock and disbelief. One second I'm standing over a log I was finishing cutting up for a customer, and the next moment I am staring at my left foot, at a gash my chainsaw left when it suddenly kicked back off the log. My thoughts in the following three seconds went as follows: That didn't just happen. That DID just happen. Shouldn't it hurt more? Maybe it didn't hit flesh. Nope, I see red. OH. NO.
A handful of stitches later, I was seated back at the house, effectively grounded on the sunniest week of the fall. Things were starting to not be so upbeat.
Then the third down hit me. There's this virus that has been going around in our household. It's been characterized by body aches, chills, fevers and sweats, lots and lots of coughing, and loss of appetite. Oh, and it lasts an average of two weeks. And it found me, like a lineman hitting a rookie quarterback who couldn't find his way out of a collapsing pocket.
I am currently closing out day 10 of the sickness. It has been, in a word, exhausting. Finally, I am at rock bottom here. My truck is still not back, the stitches are still in my foot, and this cough is still racking my body. The start of this month should be a time of anticipation and joy as we quadruplets celebrate our 21 birthdays and look forward to Victoria's wedding on the 11th. Instead, I have barely enough drive to eat a bit of dinner.
The amazing thing is, though, that God is here in this mess. He's more apparent in this tangle of trials then when I was flying high with no problems to mention. He's giving me grace, enough grace to keep on being productive (schoolwork) without loosing hope and wallowing in self pity. No, it's not some ethereal feeling of complete happiness . . . The battle between my darker moods and my confidence in God's plan feels like fierce guerrilla warfare at times. But I am catching glimpses of God's grand design, and oh how good it is!
I was recently challenged to give back my time to God, and here God has knocked me off my feet long enough to reevaluate if I am taking that challenge to heart. To stick with the football analogy, I know God is like the coach who takes a player out of a game in which he keeps getting clobbered. I'm currently a bench-warmer with a chance to recover spiritually and get my head back in the game. And it's been good, so good, here on the bench this week. My personal devotions have been vibrant and real again. I can feel God cleaning out another nasty corner of my heart where I was holding on to my independence from Him.
I can see clearly again the joy of living for Jesus alone, and I can't wait to get back in the game when He sees fit! Until then, my goal will be on spiritual refreshment and strengthening. It's a muddy, messy, maddening field of life out there, but I want to be ready to enter and deliver some hits for God's kingdom when my time on the bench is over with!
Maybe you're like me and are on the bench right now. Maybe you've had a rough set of downs, or maybe you've just not had your head in the game. But the good news is God is right there with you. He's got an arm around you, and he's got a playbook for you to read. Study up and let him coach you back into the game! These trials we're hit with are designed to make us stronger, after all!
God is good, and His grace is amazing. He knows just what I needed, and He gave it to me. And I will have a little scar the rest of my life on earth to remind me of that. I give Him the glory, and I recommit to living EVERY second of the game clock for Him!