I was blessed to have my daughter come over Christmas and help cook for the Camp of teenagers we had over New Year’s. We had a great time together!
While she was here, we had a few moments of excitement and adventure; as a few crazy moments were thrown our way. Take, for instance, our movie night. After several days of cooking for the Camp non-stop, Iris and I decided to take a breather and go to the town to see Star Wars. (In case you are wondering, it was indeed in French. Nope, no subtitles.) On the way to the theatre, my little French Renault car flashed a « faiblesse pression d’huile » (low oil pressure) warning. I thought perhaps the oil level was low. It was still running well and showed no sign of leaks. I resolved to check the oil later on and we went to enjoy the film.
We got out of the movie at about 10pm. We got in the car and it fired up fine. It didn’t show the warning for a brief moment; but then the warning came back. Regardless, it still managed to run and, being a dark night with no place open to get oil at that hour, we set off for home up the mountain. I added checking the oil to my to do list for the morning.
About a mile outside of the town, in a rather rural area, the car stalled and lost power all together. Uh oh. It started right up again, but stalled again within a few moments. I coasted as best I could to the side of the road. There she sat, a pool of oil underneath, refusing to start. Luckily, one of the Camp team members came and got Iris and me off the dark stretch of highway.
The next morning, I sent the car from the side of the highway on a tow truck back to the dealer for what I hope will be warranty service. At the time of writing this blog I still don’t know the prognosis and if the warranty will cover it. But that afternoon, Iris and I were laughing and talking about our little misadventure of the night. She started by saying « It’s a good thing we didn’t decide to do a road trip. ». We had talked of driving to Geneva or Marseilles, a couple of hours away. Yes, it was a good thing.
That led to a whole list of « good things ». It was a good thing it started again so we weren’t blocking the exit to a traffic circle. It was a good thing a kind French guy stopped to see if we were ok. It was a good thing that my colleague was still up after 10 and could come rescue us. It was a good thing that one of the leaders from the Camp (who left earlier that afternoon) «happened » to leave the Camp van in town. It was there waiting for us to take it back to Camp. It was a good thing my car didn’t decide to stall out on the narrow winding road along the cliff side towards Camp! It was a good thing I could get a tow truck to get it off the highway, on a holiday weekend Saturday, before it got damaged and before the traffic leaving the resorts got bottlenecked.
There were so many « good things ». So many that I told my daughter that they really aren’t ’good things’, they are ‘God things’: Those are times that show His mighty, compassionate hand at work, orchestrating events and covering us with His protection. Iris’ God things continued even up to somehow getting the pilot and flight attendants on her flight out to prepare her plane for departure in record time. At the same time, the air traffic controllers who were literally walking out the door on strike, paused to let one last plane leave because they were ready. It’s a good thing.
Over the past years, I have enjoyed a fresh perspective on seeing God at work in our lives. God is alive and active in enacting everything according to His plan in a way that will somehow glorify Him the most. Even the most adverse experiences I have endured, I can look back on now and glimpse a minuscule piece of how God had a purpose in them. At times, I had to struggle to say the all-powerful God had the hardship in His plan. I was challenged at times to live out my belief that He really would work all for good. But God worked to change all that.
It is a good thing —No, it’s a God thing. I can’t always see what purpose God has in allowing difficulties, hardships or trauma to hit us, but I can rest assured that He is still in control of everything. For that reason, whatever happens I can be at peace. Things may not be going the way I envision them, but they are definitely going the way God envisions it. And His way is perfect in every way. Somehow, He is using it all for His glory, and for that I rejoice. It’s a good thing…
Joseph, in revealing himself as an Egyptian leader to his brothers who sold him into slavery: « You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. »Genesis 50:20
« For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. »Romans 8:38-39