"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:2-3
Imagine the perfect night. After an amazing testimony, everyone is praying, crying, laughing, talking. Everyone is friends even if they only met that night. And everyone just has joy. That was my night Friday. I had to leave quick to drive someone home. My friends dad pulled up to pick up my friend, so I weaved around him down the driveway until I hear a loud “Crunch” The way I see it, there are 3 things you can do when you hear that crunch:
You can get angry. You can let this little circumstance,which will inconvenience you and your wallet for a few weeks, completely ruin your day and joy.
You can get anxious and worried. You can think about how much money your new bumper will be and sit with that feeling in your stomach the rest of the day
Run away from home.
Although in the moment the 3rd option seemed the most desirable, I chose a 4th option. I was joyful. The thing was that just 15 minutes before this I had prayed for trials because I wanted to show people the reason for the hope I have even in trials and suffering. As I always say, be careful what you pray for. So what happened? As I was pulling out of my driveway I didn’t see the dark navy van parked on the other side of the road and let’s just say my bumper really wanted to meet the back of my friend’s car. I suppose you could also say I slammed into her van.. Thankfully her car was completely fine. Mine, however, was completely dented. It wasn’t just a little dent. You could see it from the end of the street. The metal was cracked and my hand could almost fit inside this dent. So I prayed. I prayed for God to heal my car. I’m serious. And when I got out, Guess what? It was still dented. But I made a decision. I wasn’t gonna let that rob me of my joy. Wouldn’t it be just like the devil to do that after an amazing night at my house group? So I walked into the house and trusted God to figure it out. It’s amazing if you don’t let anything get to you, because you can live in such freedom. And I had a great rest of the night with no anger, worry, or anxiety. How do I worry when God always has a plan? And he does. I walked outside about an hour later to find a completely perfect bumper, metal perfectly intact, no cracks, and a completely dentless car. I’m not kidding you. I suppose you could say that despite the extremely cold weather and the cracks in the metal, that it just popped back into place. But I don’t quite see how that was possible. I know God did that. Why do we let a little piece of metal decide our state of happiness that day? Like we’re gonna give a car the power over our emotions? I have done it all the time. I’ve let a piece of paper with a “C” on it decide how I was doing that day. I have let a decision, lack of sleep, insult, overbooked schedule dictate my joy. And I forget that the cross trumps all of those things. I forget that I have a choice to live in freedom. I mean if we don’t put our trust in things or people but in Jesus then you can never lose. Actually you’re unstoppable, because nothing can get to you. And if something fails you, you still have your heart in the hands of an unfailing savior. But you know what’s even more unstoppable? If we could rejoice when people insult us, or when bad things happen. Because even with a broken car, we still have a healed heart, and what really matters? I’m not recommending fake smiles in trials, or forced positivity in hard situations. But I’m asking you to consider that joy could become a part of you, so that you can live in freedom while letting joy control you and not let circumstance conquer you. I pray that joy could just radiate from you so that everyone would ask how you’re different. Because this idea is not a common view of how to approach struggles. And although this may take time to live out, let’s not rant let’s rejoice. God’s plan is bigger than you, it’s bigger than me, and I have learned to trust it 100%. I am thankful for being detained, for hitting my bumper, because I got to see God’s glory shown in all of it. I think there are lots of moments in our life where we hear the “crunch”. It’s when friendships fail, conflict continues, or depression hits hard. So here’s what I want to ask you: When you hear the crunch, what are you gonna do?