And Then it Started to Rain

Job 1:21

Early in my driving career, I had less than stellar results with vehicles, and I went through several in high school and college. My first car was a 1969 Buick Wildcat with well over 200,000 miles. Cosmetically, it was in great shape, and it started every time I turned the key. I was proud of the 400 cubic inch engine with a four barrel carburetor. I was easily visible from a mile away because it billowed thick black smoke from the tailpipe. Speaking of the tailpipe, the muffler clamp refused to tighten. The result was that every time I hit a bump, the muffler detached from the pipe. I didn’t mind, though, because it suddenly sounded like a NASCAR vehicle. I confess to hitting bumps on purpose.

When the Wildcat finally gave up the ghost, I took my sister’s 1966 Oldsmobile Delta 88. She said she didn’t need it in college because she had boys take her wherever she wanted to go. It was in perfect shape mechanically and cosmetically. Again, I confess to hot-rodding. I don’t know for sure how fast it would go, but I buried the speedometer needle way past the 120 mark on more than one occasion. That ended when I took a curve too fast and jumped  the car over a bar ditch. (Jay still loves to remind me he was sitting next to me and “almost lost his life.”)

My next car was a 1969 Dodge Charger. I rebuilt the motor at 100,000 miles, but at 180,000 miles, the transmission gave out, and I was too broke to fix it. I sold it to a college friend who had intentions of re-creating a Duke of Hazard General Lee. My brother had bought a 1970 Dodge pickup that needed a motor, so we swapped out with the Charger.

At that point, I was afoot, but God looked down upon my misery. I purchased a 1964 Buick Skylark for a mere $200.  At one time, it was turquoise with a white vinyl top.  When I procured the vehicle, most of the paint had peeled off, as well as most of the vinyl roof. The vinyl seats were ripped in multiple places, all four tires were bald, and there was no spare. I wasn’t picky, though. It beat walking, and I didn’t have a payment to worry about.

Soon after I bought the vehicle, my uncle, Eddie came for a visit. He, David, and I took old blue to the next town because there was a late movie showing we wanted to see. After the movie was over, we came out to the parking lot to discover not one, but TWO flat tires. I think it was around 11:00 pm, so we were in a pickle 30 miles from home. With no spare and two flats, someone quipped, “Well, at least it isn’t raining,” and we all laughed…and then it started to rain. Just about that time, the East Texas sky opened up and big drops started hitting the ground. We went to work, quickly jacking up one side of the car. We grabbed a cinder-block that was in the trunk and placed it under the axle, then proceeded to jack up the other side.  With one side resting on a cinder-block and the other side resting on a jack, we got both flat tires off the car and were deciding what to do next. Fortunately, there was an old fashioned service station nearby.  We got the flats patched and back on the car. About the cinder-block – when you grow up poor, you learn to be resourceful.  Carrying various items in the trunk – such as a shovel, booster cables, or cinder-block – can prove handy.

nomoreflatti

Sometimes it seems we can relate to Job of the Old Testament. Of course, car troubles are nothing in comparison to what he suffered, but it can feel that way when we have a series of setbacks in rapid succession. Then, just when we think things can’t possibly get any worse, it starts to rain, adding insult to injury. Grief upon grief and loss upon loss seem to beat us into the ground, tempting us to view God as being unloving and uncaring, at best, or somehow gaining pleasure from our misfortune, at worst.  Other times, we feel God is punishing us for some unknown sin, but “it rains on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Trouble is part and parcel of living in a fallen world. Anyone can praise God in the midst of abundant blessings, but praising him when our life is seemingly nothing but adversity is nigh impossible. Job’s loving wife encouraged him, “Curse God and die.” Sometimes the people around us are no better.

Horatio Spafford penned the beautiful hymn, “It is Well with My Soul.” After experiencing bankruptcy, he planned a trip with his wife and four daughters. At the last minute, Spafford was delayed, sending his family on ahead. After receiving news the ship had been sunk, and only his wife survived, he wrote, “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.”  I offer no brilliant insight to situations such as this. Sometimes, our assignment for the day is to simply survive and wait for tomorrow. It does help a bit, however, if you have stashed a cinder-block in the trunk, preparation for when (not if) trouble finds you.

 

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Published in: on May 8, 2018 at 9:36 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Enjoyed getting caught up on your blogs this morning. As always, they are good.


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