Sunday, November 17, 2013

Romans 8:28 - Blessings in Disguise

I never have been one to take a bright and cheery outlook on things. And it's not saying I shun optimism, it's simply the way my brain works.

I'm in store for another blessing in disguise.
My car died today. Again. Last week, the starter motor kicked the can, and this time, the rest of the car decided to call it quits on the way to church. On the way to CHURCH. I mean, come on, it's a good cause, right? And as I sat there amidst the angry motorists in the middle of the intersection, the words "Lord, please help my car work - I need to get to worship" were on repeat in my head.

It's been that way for a few weeks now. Lord, I need to get to work. Lord, I just need to get home, help me to get that far. Carry my car to that gas station down the road, I know they close in 10 minutes. THANK you JESUS *with a hand on the roof* for turning the motor over, for giving me a little extra fuel, for being my tailwind.

Now, I'm in a weird place. Part of me knows and understands the power of prayer. Obviously, it works and I've been blessed these past few weeks. The last time Samson (my car) died, it was in the parking lot of a dealership filled with ex-volvo employees who gathered around to help me out, gave me a killer deal, and had me back on the road the very next day. Last night, Samson sputtered into a gas station at 12:50 a.m., 10 miles from the next station with absolutely nothing in between.

But this morning, he died in an intersection on the way to church, and I'm conflicted. Even though I have experienced God's blessing first hand, I'm still disheartened. Not in the same way as when I lost Chester, my volvo sedan, but I still feel loss, regardless of whether Samson is fixed or not.

I also question why my "help me get to worship, Lord" prayer wasn't answered this time. A lesson in humility, maybe? I already drive a shuddering, smoking, gutless vehicle. I'm not particularly proud of it (sorry, Samson), so I wonder what there is to learn from this.

The only thing I have right now, I suppose, is a look at the past few years. I can't see a solution to this problem. I can throw myself at different ideas, but I have no way of knowing how they'll pan out. I know I need guidance, but the biggest thing here is faith.

Chester, my beloved, in front of my first apartment.
I look back at the things I've lost recently, and though they might have seemed difficult to stomach at the time, I can see the hand of God in hindsight. Moving out of my parent's house forced me on my feet. Losing the job at Haggen - I was laid off, mind you - opened up a position at Starbucks, where I met countless people and made some excellent friends. Starbucks, in turn, led to my driving past 1202 Jackson St., and when a sign went up in the window advertising it as available, I was blessed to snap it up.

The big one, though, was losing the contract with the NWAACC. Less than a week after moving in to my new apartment, I got a call from the league's executive director. They had made less money than expected at the basketball tournament, he said, and could no longer afford my position. As I wrote in a blog post at the time, I was devastated. How would I pay for gas? Rent? Food?

As it turns out, however, the vacancy on the writing side of my life couldn't have gone any better. A few weeks later, I ran in to an old teacher of mine, and the conversation led to my applying for a position at the Molalla Pioneer. That, in turn, got me an interview with the Spotlight, where I currently hold the Sports Editor position.

"See, John? See?" says the Lord. "Look how I care for you. Notice how I bless you in times of trial, take to heart that I am working in all things."

Alright. I will. Give me faith, Lord, to follow your lead in whatever bless'ed direction this takes me. Make me humble, and comfort me in my fear and sadness. Help me believe and wait on your blessing, and gift me with the patience to trust in your understanding of my future. And in all things, fill my heart with peace that I may forge ahead in confidence for your glory.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28

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