God has a plan and a purpose, even when we don’t recognize it.
We get quite caught up in our desires, our schedules, our plans, our careers, our everything, and we neglect the fact that God has His hand over us and over every situation. At least I am guilty of that. I am guilty of loving myself more than I should. I am guilty of focusing on me. I am guilty of looking after my own personal interests before the interests of those around me. I am guilty of caring first for myself, and then for my neighbor. I like to think the things of this world should revolve around me; not always, but sometimes.
I can draw a good example from a long time ago to explain how things did not go as I expected, but something greater occurred, because Someone greater is in control.
Today I was upset. I was annoyed at the world. I was mad at the weather man. I was a little frustrated with God. You see, today was the first day of my spring break. SPRING BREAK! It was like 30 degrees outside, here in NC. A friend and I were supposed to be heading up to Washington D.C., but they were getting buried in about 8 inches of snow throughout the day. We decided to wait and observe the situation, and it turned out that delaying our departure until tomorrow would be safest.
Not a big deal. Except for the fact that I am human. And the fact that I am selfish. And the fact that I wanted things to go exactly as I had planned for them to go in my head. Ever experienced something similar? My guess is you have.
So I sat on the couch frustrated for much of the day, doing nothing beneficial. I was too upset about my plans being jumbled to motivate myself to do anything else. That was wasteful.
After several hours, I started looking for a vehicle to purchase, as I’ve been solely a biker for about 3 weeks now…and this isn’t good weather for being just a biker.
God set something in my lap, as He does so often. How do I know that what was laid in front of me was a gift from God? Because every good thing in my life is a gift from Him; especially the story that follows.
So I found an awesome old school VW car that was in my price range. This was done through the wonderful, amazing website known as Craigslist (should be Gregslist). My madre was awesome, and drove me to check it out, after a short phone conversation with the owner. Not much was listed on the ad, so I didn’t know what to expect.
When I got there, I fell in love. After a thorough run through of the vehicle and a test drive, I decided to purchase it. BAM! Oh what an awesome blessing. On the day that I was so frustrated because the weather was not cooperative with my important plans, something good had happened. This was good, but this wasn’t the best part. This wasn’t the true blessing.
The true blessing came in talking with my new friend Don, and his wife. The true blessing came in the fact that their family notary (who was awesome and comes to them!) was unavailable for an hour and a half. The true blessing came in the form of an invitation to join them in their living room until the notary arrived. I have to tell you, God blesses me in ways I could never deserve (isn’t that the story of His grace!) and through means I could never expect. The car was cool; the quaint little house and the people that have lived inside for the past 40 years were much cooler.
I got to hear quite a bit of Don’s story. I got to hear about him: growing up in the city, delivering telegrams from a Harley Sportster, growing a marriage to a fruitful 45 years, grieving for a nephew, losing the majority of his close friends, buying his first brand new truck in the 1970’s (which he still has!), taking his family on a trip to Disney World, going on an airplane for the first and only time, growing up Southern Baptist, and much more.
I feel like I would be doing a disservice, to each and every one of you I call friend, if I did not pass along some of the thoughts this man shared with me today. He has had a greater influence on my life than he could possibly know.
In regards to hardship, including his cancer and his losses in life-both family and friends: “Most of my friends, the good ones, are dead. I’ve got cancer. I get the run-around from the doctors. I’ve lost family. But don’t think that life is bad. Life is good. There are some tough circumstances, but life is good; God is good.”
In regards to how we know if we are doing what we are supposed to: “You know you are in the right business, when the business you are in is the work of the Lord.”
In regards to living in Christ, and knowing where his eternity will be spent: “Everything’s not right. But my soul is right. My soul is right with the Lord.”
In regards to denomination: “You don’t have to be Southern Baptist to be right with God. It’s about your soul. It’s about knowing Him; and this is coming from a Southern Baptist.”
In regards to traveling: “Travel while you can. The things you say you’ll do when you are older, are the things you’ll never do.”
In regards to marriage: “It really takes two in a marriage. Everybody’s got to have a part. Everybody’s got to know and feel that they are needed, because they are.” He went on to joke that his wife’s role is to tell him what to do, pay the bills, and spend most of the money. He was hilarious.
In regards to big spending: “Be a big spender at Dollar General.”
In regards to daily life: “You don’t know what’s over the next hill or around the next curve.” He elaborated on how we should take advantage of our opportunities. Don spoke of how we should live in the moment, and be thankful.
In regards to learning: “I didn’t have very much education, but you can learn something, in everything you do.”
In regards to making people smile: “If you can make someone smile for two minutes, do it. In those two minutes, they can’t think of their troubles or struggles; you just can’t do that while smiling.” (My personal favorite)
The blessing of Don’s company trumps the blessing of the VW I have been chasing after. If the car were to fall apart tomorrow, the true blessing would still remain; but let’s pray that doesn’t happen. Don kept reminding me that the Cabriolet doesn’t have wings, so it won’t fly, it doesn’t have frog legs, so it won’t jump, it doesn’t have bumpers, so it won’t push or pull, and it doesn’t float, so don’t take it in the water; it’s just an A to B vehicle. He made note that it would get me a ticket too. Let’s hope I avoid that one!
Be praying for Don, as he undergoes an operation in the next two weeks. Also, pray that we each would live a life that furthers the kingdom of God, so that we may look back on a life that has been worthwhile. Pray that we be full of life and willing to share, because in our willingness to open up, blessing and wisdom flows.
I am so thankful to have had the chance to be like a small sponge next to a 74 year old man flowing with wisdom. This was the kind of wisdom that was gained through experience. This is the kind of wisdom that was gained through a flourishing relationship with Jesus. I want to be like Don, because i want to live and love like Jesus. I am surely blessed. The God that I serve is the only One that deserves our attention, our praise, our all. His hand is over every circumstance.
The car salesman, my awesome new friend Don, was awesome enough to take a picture with me and the VW. He said it was like saying goodbye to a close friend. I reassured him that I felt like I was embracing a new friend. Every time I sit in that car I’m going to think of his story. Sometimes God’s blessing looks like a VW.
We all have a story. Our stories matter. Share it, or it’s wasted. There is always a plan. There is always a purpose. There is always something to be learned.
[Let me know when you meet a car salesman like that.]