By Christopher Eyte, Crosswalk.com
God Sees Our Troubles
By Christopher Eyte
“... you are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is necessary.” - Luke 10:41b-42a
We had a 180-mile journey ahead of us and the kids were happy enough in the back of our large estate car, which we’d owned for years, as we trundled along the motorway. I was keen to get to our destination and a reunion with my close relatives. My wife was the driver and patiently endured my awful jokes as we headed east.
Suddenly a small light flashed on the dashboard. I ignored it. My two approaches to tech-gone-wrong are:  Hit the malfunctioning item with my fist, e.g. punching a flickering TV (this actually works well) or  Pretend I don’t see the potential problem in hope that someone with expertise will materialize, and then fix it. Anyway ... I couldn’t really punch the dashboard and I tried ignoring the light but it didn’t disappear. I got my phone and turned to the 21st century 'fount of all wisdom': Google.
“It says the flashing symbol means the engine is overheating. If we carry on driving, it might kill the engine. We need to pull over immediately.” The overheating symbol disappeared and then the battery symbol flashed. And that was it - the engine died. My wife skilfully brought the car to a stop on the rescue lane of the motorway. My children began firing questions as we fumbled for rescue service documents. I sensed danger as the car rocked and jolted in the airflow of trucks and cars hurtling down the road beside us.
It was a highly perilous situation, and so we got the kids out and away from the car - leading them carefully into the brambles and discarded litter behind a safety barrier. We made our way to a steel staircase below a highway sign, and I tried to sound cheerful. Neither my wife nor my kids were happy, but at least we were all safe.
“Look!” My wife pointed to highway patrol officers who had pulled up behind our isolated car. I ran to meet them and, not being much of a jogger, leant through their open window and panted like an unfit dog, explaining the situation in between gasps of polluted air. They got us back into our car and towed us to the nearest service station facility. A road rescue man then arrived and lifted up the bonnet of the car. Oil was splattered all over the engine, and he shook his head sadly. “Head gasket has blown. It will cost a lot of money to fix.”
We discussed our options, and he towed us to a village garage in the middle of nowhere. The mechanics told us it would take two weeks to repair and cost hundreds. I didn’t have ‘hundreds,’ but we had no choice but to leave the car with them. We still needed to get to our destination with relatives for very personal reasons, and we couldn’t return home because friends were staying in our house for a mini-break. We bundled our belongings into bags and said goodbye to the car. I was frustrated about the apples - a whole box of crisp apples from our tree. We had to leave them in the car boot, to rot.
A local taxi took us 10 miles to the nearest city railway station. Trains were canceled. I went to the nearest hotel but there were no rooms. My phone was also out of battery. I had to hook up the charger to a socket on a wall pillar. My little son was so tired that he was lying down on the station’s dirty floor. We fed the kids an unhealthy takeaway whilst I scrolled online for a hotel. I found it - 35 miles away. The taxi was not cheap. We got there very late and my wife and I hardly slept. The next day we had to pay for another 10-mile taxi trip to get a train.
We reached our destination 24 hours after we’d planned and enjoyed the reunion with relatives. But I had burnt through my budget for the week. We also needed a car for the school trip when we returned. We live on the edge of a woodland full of oak, birchwoods, and beechwoods expanding out to a wide expanse within the beautiful confines of a sandy beach-lined peninsula facing the Atlantic. It is impossible to get the children to school without a car.
Yet we couldn’t afford to buy another vehicle. Car hire was not a long-term option, and we realized the intended repairs on our dead red wagon were too expensive. I phoned the garage and told them to scrap it. We returned home by train at the end of the week, however, in a far more positive frame of mind - God is gracious. An older lady in my hometown church community, a wonderful servant of God, heard about our predicament, and she kindly gave us money to buy another car, which we purchased the following week. It was an incredible moment of generosity.
There’s one thing that stands out when I look back on those couple days of craziness with travel disruption: we didn’t prioritize prayer. I think we mumbled a prayer at the railway station whilst munching hamburgers but, otherwise, we let the immediacy of the situation get to us.
God sees things. He sees our situations, and He is always present in whatever happens. Our responsibility is to turn it all over to him. And what’s amazing is that he understands our frailties and whimsical worrying but shows loving provision for our needs when we are in trouble. Jesus himself said that even the hairs on our heads are counted. We have no excuse to worry but every excuse to trust. A lesson that I learnt during that week when the car broke down and a kindly elderly lady bought us another vehicle!
Intersecting Faith and Life:
- How do you seek God in times of trouble?
- Do you have a ‘worry list’? Spend time with the Lord and go through the list together. Talk to him about it and listen to him.
- Set yourself a challenge such as writing out 10 Bible verses about faith in times of trouble. Learn those verses by heart.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Wavebreakmedia Ltd
Christopher Eyte lives with his wife Céline and three children in Swansea, Wales, UK. He has worked as a journalist for many years and writes his own blog (hislovefrees.life) encouraging others in their walk with Jesus. He became a Christian in February 2002, after a friend explained God's amazing grace!