By Amanda Landes
Have you ever experienced a tire blowout? I haven’t, and it’s something I hope I never have to experience. In fact, I needed to research it to find out exactly what happens and why.
According to Popular Mechanics, a tire blowout occurs most often in the summer because people drive farther with heavier loads, and when a worn out tire is unable to continue to function like it should, it bursts. Blowouts are also caused by potholes, underinflating, excessive heat, and slow death.
While I haven’t experienced this in a car, I do know what it’s like on a bike. Two months ago, I was determined to complete a fifty-mile bike ride. It was both a physical challenge and a mental one. I was going to be riding along a highway for fifty miles in an area I had only driven through twice, and the forecast that day was ninety-seven degrees.
It took twenty miles for me to settle in and believe I was going to complete the ride. I was only five miles away from my turnaround point when my back tire began to feel strange. Sure enough, I had a flat. I knew I would never make it back on a flat tire, but I didn’t have a Plan B.
First Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (NLT). But the heat continued to rise, my frustration festered, and I didn’t have any visible options.
How was I to be joyful in this situation? The last thing I wanted to be was joyful.
In fact, the whole idea of being joyful in all circumstances is an interesting concept. Joy is not simply being happy. Happiness is a feeling that comes and goes and is dependent on circumstances. Joy is so much deeper. It exists regardless of our circumstances, and it’s something we really have to pursue.
My problem wasn’t the definition of joy, it was that I allowed my circumstances to determine my definition of it.
I thought I had the never stop praying part down, but something happens in our brains when we stop focusing on God and start looking at our own frustrating situation. It’s like we stop believing in the sovereignty of God and start trying to rely on ourselves, to take control. I am not saying this happens all the time, but what I am saying is that we try and take the power away from Him while questioning how He is going to get us out of our situations.
I was having the hardest time with give thanks in all circumstances. As if it wasn’t bad enough that I was in this situation, stranded twenty miles from home, but somehow I needed to find a way to be thankful? Seriously?
It’s all about where my focus was. There was and is good in all my circumstances, but it’s easy to forget the rest of the verse: for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. This is the good, you see: God’s will for our lives is to never stop praying, to always be joyful, and to give thanks in all things.
Jesus went to the cross to die for us. For us. No matter what we are facing, there has to come a point where we let go of our questions, our need for control, and our unbelief and instead start to increase our prayers, our joy, and our thankfulness.
When life hands me flat tires, I just need to turn to Him in gratitude for His mercies. That’s all He asks of me.
While being constantly amazed by the grace and love poured out by God, Amanda Landes enjoys the great outdoors, coffee and trying to decipher which is more beneficial, Double Stuff Oreos or triathlon training. The life adventures that have come her way provide an opportunity to share that, no matter the trials or turns in the road before us, there is a solid hope and foundation that is found in Christ. Amanda blogs at abidingtrust.com.
Photograph by, unsplash.