Good morning and yes, this is a day early so don’t forget to show up for any Friday commitments tomorrow! Ha!
I am sending this out today because we are leaving super early in the morning to catch a flight to Dallas and then drive on to see John for the weekend. I may be just a tad excited…as in whhhheeeeee!!!!!!
Since I will be struggling to get out the door looking presentable, I figured I would just write you all a day early so here is the thought for this week.
This summer Russ decided it was time for a new vehicle for me and he purchased a really pretty blue car. Like I have no idea model numbers, makes, style names or any thing but this car is such a beautiful shade of deep dark blue it makes grown men weep. Not kidding. I had one this color a number of years ago and people noticed it and would comment on the color and this happens now with the new one.
And I guess God wanted to keep me from the sin of idolatry over it because we have had several run ins with rocks that have already caused some deep nicks in the paint and now a crack in the windshield.
It’s the latter that I want to discuss with you today.
It happened on the interstate as I moved over into the left lane to allow a car entering from a ramp to merge into the flow of traffic.
I don’t understand this behavior of a fellow traveler, but it happens from time to time that you move over to make room and then find yourself driving in tandem with the other car. It’s like they speed up immediately and then drive alongside you at the exact rate you are going.
In my mind it would seem appropriate that a car who has been given room to enter the highway would allow the other car to get back in the lane by either really speeding up or slowing down enough to allow that to happen. But instead this car matched my speed and stayed even with me for quite some distance. I was going as fast as I felt comfortable to go (I know my speed never varied since it was on cruise control the entire time)….so I canceled the cruise and dropped back behind in order to re-enter into the right lane.
And just as I did, a rock flew off of this driver’s tires and hit square and hard into the windshield leaving a bullet hole effect a few inches below eye level.
I was sick and angry all at the same time. He drove off oblivious to what he had done and I was fuming.
We took the car to a wonderful place here in town and they did a patch for $65 leaving only the tiniest little mark and I am amazed that we didn’t have to have the whole windshield replaced but I want to address something with you about this incident.
There is something raw about how it went down that I think may speak to some of you all and frustrations that may wear on you.
I didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, I was doing the right thing.
I was being courteous to another driver. I could have remained in my lane and forced him to slow way down on the entrance ramp to merge.
I didn’t accelerate over the allowed speed limit to get in front of him, but instead decreased my own speed to get back in the appropriate lane.
But I suffered injury anyway.
Let me say that again in a more general way.
Have you experienced injury or hurt after extending courtesy and doing what is right to someone?
It hurts deeply, doesn’t it?
Suddenly instead of being “rewarded” for doing good…you feel like you have been punished for doing good and it brings up something inside of us that is a mix of anger and indignation.
It is in these moments that I have to remind myself all over again that my motivation for doing right and being courteous and kind to others is NOT so that I will be rewarded. My motivation goes much deeper than that and should not hang tentatively on the responses of those who benefit from my actions or even those who never even notice or are aware of them or my existence.
Building character is a constant work in progress for us all and these kinds of insults and injuries are ways God uses to continually refine you and me.
That flash of anger that came up was a reminder of the entitlement that lives deep in me. The thought of “I didn’t deserve this or that…” is an indication that I still hold on to the capacity to believe that I could ever “earn” mercy and grace.
I want you to know that our God is compassionate and I do believe He holds us when we are treated poorly or we get slapped in the face after we have done a good thing…but He also is very interested in our becoming more like His Son.
I think there is no better example for us to model our lives after than how we find Him described in Philippians 3:5-8
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death – and the worst kind of death at that – a crucifixion. The MSG
Something to think about as we may encounter those who might kick up a rock or two along the journey today <3