Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
This past Tuesday morning was an uneventful, ordinary drive to work. Until it wasn’t. Cruising down Route 80, all of a sudden, I heard a loud whack as something kicked up from the road and smacked into my windshield. It startled me to say the least. It was probably a rock, but it happened so fast that I am not certain that’s what it was. I didn’t see its emergence, just heard and felt the hit. There were no cars in front of me so I’m not entirely sure where it came from. But the end result was three separate chips in my previously perfect windshield. Fortunately, they are not in my line of sight and, as of now, are only minor chips.
So, what did I do? I grumbled a bit. Lamented my now imperfect windshield. And then I kept driving. I certainly could not spend my time worrying about those chips turning into cracks and spiderwebbing out of control. I could not stop driving. I could not get out of the car, curse the culprit and give up on life. I could not dwell on it. I could not bemoan a now future multi-hundred-dollar expense to replace it.
Life is like this sometimes. We are cruising along, minding our own business, when—all of a sudden and out of nowhere—BAM! Something smacks the windshield of our life and chips away the previously comfortable routine. A diagnosis. A death. A severed relationship. A lost job. A cancelled vacation. Whatever form it comes in, it is always an unwelcome surprise. A cracked windshield is a helpful metaphor for the effects of sin in our lives. Each of us has sin in our lives, breaks and mars that affect everything we do. We pull ourselves together and try to move on, but there’s a constant reminder that things aren’t as chip-free and perfect as they once were. There’s a crack in the proverbial windshield of our lives that can leave us perturbed and bitter. So, what do we do? We keep driving. We keep going. We can lament and grumble for a bit. In fact, that’s the very thing God invites us into prayer for (cf. 1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 40:17, Psalm 55:22—just to name a few 😉). A little more worse-for-wear, we keep moving forward.
Remember these words from Jesus in the Gospel from this past Sunday? “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt. 11:28-30) No matter the size or the number of cracks in our windshield, we keep driving because we know that the Lord is right beside us. Some of our burdens, the chips and cracks in the windshield, have been imposed upon us from the fallen world around us, some of them are our own doing. No matter, God still invites us away from a place of sorrow and into a place of Sabbath. Intentionally or not, we too often choose to carry things God never intended for us to carry, and it can be so hard to lay them down. But the beauty of Jesus’ gospel invitation is to trade in the overwhelming baggage of this world for His much-needed rest. He invites us to leave the burden and receive His embrace. He invites us to look beyond that imperfections in the windshield and believe that He is still in control. We cannot use Jesus to magically remove or defeat our problems. But as Jesus embraces us, we discover a peace that laughs in the face of our present circumstances. Even as the chips and cracks remain, we find comfort and strength in the embrace of Jesus.
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:8-10)
Pastor Steve Vera