Picture this: The air conditioning in my car suddenly (and unexpectedly) went out while I was running an errand. Not only had the cool air stopped altogether, but all of the air (including the regular, unconditioned kind) had ceased. 😦
On a warm day – nearly 90F here in California, which is toasty for us – you definitely can feel it when you don’t have any air conditioning. Shoot – even having some air would have been better than none; after all, where there is no fresh air circulating, there is no relief, either.
The world works the way that it is supposed to, in part, because of this unseen force called wind that generates energy, can cause (or exacerbate) storms, cools us down on a warm day, or help direct the flows of our oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, and tributaries. We don’t know where the wind stops and starts, but we do know that it is there, and we take it for granted all the time, don’t we? Life surely would be quite misereable without it – like me in my no-air-circulating car – with no relief in sight.
And just as we cannot see the wind or understand the paths that it takes, so are we with the Lord. We know He is there, and He is working things out in our lives all the time, but we cannot see what He’s doing, and rarely understand how He’s doing it, either. From our perspective, His actions can seem like what Solomon talks about in Ecclesiastes 1:6 – “around and around it goes, blowing in circles.” His ways sometimes seem bewildering, and we often can only perceive the impact of His presence by our changed hearts, relationships, and circumstances.
And just like the stuffy environment in my car this afternoon, when we – intentionally or otherwise – take measures to cut ourselves off from the Lord, we do so at our own peril. We find ourselves in a stuffy car of our own creation, wondering why things have suddenly gotten so uncomfortable.
Funny what things come to mind when the air conditioning gets switched off, and there is no active air flow in the car!
So perhaps you might (or might not?) be wondering, what did I do? Several things, actually:
- I rolled down all of the windows to let the fresh air inside the car. While my hair looked quite a sight by the time I got home, at least I felt somewhat cooler. Also, I noticed that I only experienced the power and presence of the breeze when I was in motion – when the car stopped, so did my experience of the wind, too. Good food for thought, no?
- I made an appointment to take my car in to be serviced. Turns out that the issue has nothing to do with the air conditioning system at all – some part located deep in the recesses of the hood had failed, and this failure caused any sort of ventilation to immediately cease. Put another way, the cool air was available, but the power to make it blow was not. I wonder how many of us go through life in this way?
- I accepted my own limitations. No matter how many times I pressed buttons and read the manual, there was nothing that I could do to change the uncomfortable situation inside my car. So, I stopped fidgeting with the buttons and focused on what I could control (steps #1 and #2), and kept on moving.
- Of course, I did pray, but sometimes the Lord’s answers to our petitions are pretty obvious: “Take your car in and have that part replaced, Daily.” No Moses-esque parting of the Red Sea here! Since my car is no spring chicken, I have to recognize that it’s at the stage where things are starting to break down and need repair, and take actions accordingly.
By the way, the thing that I’m actually most grateful today is super basic: air conditioning in my car. Never again will I take this luxury for granted! Even in its absence, I will thank the Lord for the cool air that will be restored to my car in a day or two. In the meantime, I can enjoy the air conditioning and fan here in my apartment, and also be thankful that I live in a place with a fairly mild, Mediterranean-like climate. Gratitude in the small things is as important as it is in the big things!
Dear Lord, thank You for my car – or should I say Your car? – and for the way that You have sustained it all of these years. Like these tents of ours that are in the process of breaking down, so is my dear car, and I recognize what is happening. I thank You, though, that the car has seen me through two different accidents, and has lived to tell the tale!
I’m also sensing that I am approaching the end of the road with this vehicle. I admit that I’ve grown attached to it, but at the end of the day, it is a vehicle whose sole purpose has been to ferret me from one place to another. When You are ready for me to have a new car (or one that is new to me), would You please let me know? I’m partial to this old one, but I don’t want to hold on to something that You would rather that I release.
Thanks also for this reminder about the presence and work of the breezes in in our lives and in our world. While You are not in the wind, per se, it sure seems like You function in much the same way – unseen, powerful, mysterious, and active. Help me to remember to keep my spiritual windows rolled down when things get uncomfortable in my life, and invite Your presence, power, and purposes into whatever challenging circumstances I may be facing.
Finally, I don’t know if this blog post will make sense to anyone other than You and me, but I suppose that doesn’t really matter, does it? This blog was only and always meant to be about You, anyway (the rest of us are simply along for the ride!). In Your name I pray, Amen.