Sometimes it is hard to recognize blessings. A week ago Sunday I was driving home from a full church anniversary week-end in Sierra Vista. In my position I get to drive a lot! I was very tired and looking forward to getting home. Although it was getting too late for a nap, that was still my plan. My plans quickly changed when the warning went off that my car was over-heating! This is one of those warnings that I don’t ignore! It is very possible to set the engine on fire when it is over-heating. I immediately pulled off the road and turned the car off. There was no evidence of steam coming from the engine. After sitting for a few minutes, I turned the car back on. Immediately the alarm went off again. I turned it back off. There I sat trying to figure out what I was going to do next. After letting the car cool longer and making sure that the A/C was turned off, I tried it again. This time the engine was cooler, and I risked driving the five minutes needed to get home.
To be honest, a sick car was more than I could handle at the time. I parked the car and drove my twenty- year old truck for the next couple of days. On Tuesday I was finally ready to start dealing with the car. I checked the coolant over-flow tank, and it was empty. After buying the right coolant, I added some to the radiator. When I put coolant in the over-flow tank, it didn’t seem to be filling up. Having moved back to Sahuarita a few months ago, I was not re-established with a mechanic. I tried to remember who I had used before, and just couldn’t remember. This is where Facebook comes in handy! In very little time I had several recommendations. On Wednesday I called one of the mechanics that I recognized, and Thursday morning my car was in the shop. The problem turned out to be as simple as a weak radiator cap that was unable to hold in the pressure.
Where, we can ask, is the blessing in a broken-down car? I can see many blessings. The first is how close to home I was when the alarm went off. I’m often-times on the expressway or out on secondary roads where I’m not close to services. I’m very grateful that this didn’t happen a week earlier when I was in a dust storm in Casa Grande! I don’t even want to think about how bad it could have been if my car caught on fire. Being prepared for bad news from the mechanic, I was surprised to find out that it was something as simple as needing a new radiator cap. While the car was in the shop I also had them change my oil. The bonus blessing is that I asked for a referral to a body shop for my 1968 Mustang. I have some issues that I want addressed. What is the name of the body shop that they directed me to? Mark’s Body Shop. I’m for sure going to check them out!
It’s easy to identify problems in our lives. My teacher friends can tell us about problems. In fact, pretty much everyone that I know can tell us about problems that they are experiencing. It is tempting for us to solely focus on the negative issues in our lives. If we do this, how does it affect us? It’s amazing to me how often the problems that we are experiencing are exactly what makes it possible for us to have the biggest blessings in our lives. Are we looking for the blessings?
Church is a great place for us to pray together for the challenges in our lives. It is also a fantastic opportunity to teach each other to look for, and to expect, God’s blessings (maybe even a few miracles!). The attitude of our church impacts the attitudes of those who are attending. How do you describe your church? Is it looking for, and expecting, blessings? If the honest answer is “not really”, how can you personally help to change your church’s attitude? If the answer is a resounding “yes!”, what can be done to spread this attitude beyond your church’s walls?
Your brother on the journey, Mark
A final thought: I’m in Phoenix tonight (Monday) as I finish writing this article. Once or twice a month I eat at a diner that is close to my hotel. There is a man who is much older than me who has been working every time that I have eaten there. Tonight, I talked to him outside as he watered a tree. It turns out that the tree was planted in memory of Autumn, one of their waitresses who died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. I remember Autumn. The man told me not to worry, that he had talked with her many times about God. He said that Autumn is OK. This felt like a holy moment to me as this man finished watering the tree. I truly feel blessed as this evening comes to an end. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s blessings!