A couple of weekends ago Kevin and Taylor, my two oldest boys, and I were preparing to take our canoe for a trial run on nearby Marl Lake. It was a beautiful day to be outdoors. Cool but not cold, breezy and clear blue skies. We had not been out with this canoe before and we were trying to figure out how to get it lashed to the car safely. I bent down to tie the end of the canoe to a point under the rear bumper. When I got on my hands and knees and looked underneath I saw the right rear tire had a big patch of the steal belts showing on the inside edge. I was surprised and a bit disappointed.
Now I was going to have to get new tires and my better judgment told me we’d have to put off our outing for safety sake. Being a Saturday morning I didn’t think I’d get the tires I’d need that day. There was probably no place that had time on a Saturday to help me. But I was wrong. By noon I was back home, two new tires replaced the old and we were once again lashing the canoe on top of the car for our brief outing on the clear water of Marl Lake.
What was at first disappointment turned to gratitude for the Lord’s wisdom in putting me on my knees to look under the car to see the bad tire. The realization that He spared us a potentially serious problem crossed my mind. I doubt I would have seen that worn spot from any other angle. And I had just been driving the car on the interstate the day before and could have had a serious accident had the tire given out at highway speeds.
As we studied in Philippians 1:12-14 this past Sunday, I’m learning that there’s opportunity for joy in the midst of difficulty. Paul certainly modeled it. And my little problem may not be as serious as yours, but I’m reminded how we each need to see the opportunity to glorify God in all things. We may struggle for a time, we may experience pain, our hearts may be broken and we may mourn. But like Paul, when our singular passion in life is the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we’ll see our problems as opportunities to find joy in what God is doing through us instead of complaining about what’s happening to us.