Marnell and I had just sat down with our plates last night at the haystack fundraiser, when he got a phone call. His roommate was stranded beside the road somewhere, with a mechanical problem involving brake fluid dripping onto the roadway. After a discussion with Marnell, they found someone to escort him to a friend’s house and then to a parts store.
Even though my brakes hadn’t quit, I felt gloomy, and actually my brakes were irritating me as well. I hadn’t gotten much sleep, and both work and school were leaving me slightly overwhelmed by Friday evening when I got ready to go to a haystack fundraiser with Marnell. I was going to meet Marnell at his house and go with him from there.
You wouldn’t think it would be possible for a trip from Elkhart to Goshen to be complicated. I started badly by leaving my house late. Then, there is construction in downtown Goshen, so I knew I couldn’t go my familiar path. I put my destination into my GPS, and it showed me how to cut around the downtown by way of 5th Street. I confidently did this, only to get to the end of 5th Street where a sign was posted: No Outlet. I had noticed that my brakes were squeaking, something they are wont to do, despite being cleared by the mechanic twice.
Now, because I was literally LOST on the way from Elkhart to Goshen, I had to turn around in a parking lot, which made the brakes seem even worse as I stopped and started about five times. A group of children was playing by the side walk and I supposed they were wondering if my little silver car was about to fall apart. I managed to find another road that took me down to my destination, but not before my brakes squealed unpleasantly about a dozen more times.
I felt tense and stressed, from this odd combination of rational and irrational factors. When we finally returned to Marnell’s house I gave him an honest report.
“I feel a little discouraged,” I told him, “and I know it’s not from God because God doesn’t bring discouragement.”
“And because you know it’s not from God, you’re also discouraged about being discouraged?” he suggested.
That’s exactly how I was feeling, and I instantly started laughing. I guess I had been harboring the fear that something dreadful was wrong with me for being discouraged, and his casual description of my problem made me feel better instantly. (I’m probably biased, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever encountered anyone quite as good at active listening as he.)
A few mere minutes after Marnell got me to laugh at myself, his roommate arrived, the one whose night had also involved brakes, but been much worse than mine.
“Hi Rocky,” I said. “I’m sorry about your bad night!”
“Oh, but the Lord was good!” were the first words out of his mouth. “I got a wonderful deal at Auto Zone.”
There’s nothing as convicting as someone in similar but worse circumstances than your own, with a better attitude!
The Lord is good, and I’m humbled and grateful for both of the caring men who reminded me of this last night!