Originally I posted the following story in my Instagram.  I decided to update it for my blog.  You can catch the original post by clicking here.

Y’all ever have one of those days where you just ask “why?”

I’m headed home from work the other day like any other.  I was in a bit of a mood, as something going on in my personal life left me with a heavy heart.  I didn’t know how to handle it, I couldn’t control it.

Driving up through Flowery Branch, GA I cross a set of railroad tracks I must have crossed at least a hundred times before.  This time though, I hear an odd “PING!” sound from my front right tire.  I didn’t think much of it until several miles later when the tire pressure light came on and I heard the telltale “WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP” sound from my front end.

Dang it, I got a flat tire!

So I pull over and like I thought, it’s flat.  I’ve got repair kits and whatnot in the trunk, so I roll the car back and forth, turn the wheel, and for the life of me I simply cannot find the damage.  That’s when I get the air pump / fix-a-flat kit from my trunk (it’s the gift from Honda for refusing to give me a spare tire).

I fire it up and the gauge goes crazy for a bit as the air and glue get pumped into my tire.  Eventually the tire starts to inflate as I see the glue start to seep out between the wheel and the tire.  First thought is that I hit something hard enough to break the bead, or seal, between the tire and wheel.

I shut down the pump when the pressure hits 35PSI only to hear the steady “hisssssss” of air leaving the tire.  That’s when I discover that whatever I hit actually damaged the sidewall of the tire, a fatal blow for any tire.  Pun intended.  Now thankfully, the tire didn’t blow out at speed, it just slowly let go, and conveniently brought me to a stop at a gas station instead of the side of 985.

Alright alright, so I get out my phone and call roadside assistance through my insurance company.  I figure they can come out, tow the car back to my house where I have spare tires for this car, and the next day I’ll bring the damaged tire to get replaced.  No big deal.

Now I’m at a gas station.  I’m stressed.  Thankfully not annoyed or angry, just stressed.  I had every intention of getting home, having supper, and kicking back to watch reruns of Top Gear.  Instead I am stressed.  I haven’t smoked in about 2 weeks at this point, no cigarettes, no vapes, but you know I remember any time I’m stressed there was nothing like a cigarette to put me at ease.

Instead of going into the gas station, buying a pack of smokes, and discarding the past two weeks I spent quitting, I reached out to my brothers in Christ to pray for me so that this temptation would not win.  I was praying myself, but one can never have enough prayer in their life.  The bible says to do so ceaselessly, so that’s a lot of prayer to be had.  The need to smoke faded, thank you Jesus.

The tow operator gives me a call and lets me know that his tow truck is down, but he’s coming by in his pickup to help me out.  I describe the problem, jokingly explain that its 2023 and nobody needs a spare tire anymore… but I ask him to give me a lift back to my house so I can pick up a wheel and tire as well as my tools.  Shortly after he arrives in a beat up old Dodge and we’re off.

What ensued was a solid hour or so of great conversation with the man.  I’d never have met him any other way, he described his struggles, I shared mine.  Never could have happened any other way.  Now I did have an opportunity to witness to him but I tend to ease in to the witness, read the room so to speak.  However before the night was through I said “God bless you!” and he fully appreciated it.

So we get back to my car, and the conversation / joking continued as we swapped out the wheels and tires on my car.  Now there’s a funny thing with my car, the front wheels MUST match, so my spare tire went on the back, the good tire moved up, I torqued both down with my electric impact gun, and was on my merry way home in short order.

I made the decision a couple weeks back that I wasn’t going to drink alone anymore.  Just isn’t healthy for me.  I tell you though, nothing could have put a better end to my day than a glass of whiskey.  I was going to pass my liquor store on the way home, so why not stop and grab a bottle.  I’m filthy dirty.  I’m sweaty.  My hands are black.  I’m not going into a liquor store in that state.

Good thing.  I continue my way home and within a few miles I start to hear “WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP” again.  I slow down and decide to just get my car home where my tools are so I can figure out what is going on now.  Did the original rear tire get damaged too?  I get the car in my garage, get it up in the air and realize the lugs on my spare are a little loose.  Easy fix.  I’m home.

I dare say the Lord popped my tire so I could be challenged here.  The Lord will not tempt, but life will.  I was challenged by nicotine, challenged by alcohol, challenged by stress and challenged by patience.  I wound up having a great conversation that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.  The Lord also revealed to me that the thing I was upset about to begin with was completely outside my control, so why stress?

I lean hard on my faith every day, harder still on days like yesterday, and He has consistently walked if not carried me through them with a 100% success rate.  Even when I may not realize He is carrying me, when I wake up the next day with air in my lungs and a whomp whomp whomp in my chest, I know He is there by my side and has never let me go.  Thank God for God!

32 Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid. Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him: 33 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; 34 and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”

Mark 10:32-34

When it came time this morning to open the good book and work on my devotionals, I was brought to the verses above. Now I’m not equating my trials with that of Jesus or the disciples, but to me there’s a similar lesson here. God guides, Jesus leads, and the Holy Spirit walks beside us. The path isn’t guaranteed to be paved with gold. When we follow Him whatever transpires in our travels is for our good and His glory.

I could only imagine the reaction I’d have had to these exact same situation BEFORE I was saved, when my words and actions were lead by a fallen world. My temper had a hair trigger when it came to plans being changed outside my control. At least back then the cars still had spare tires, but I digress! I am changed because He changed me, and continues to do so.

These tests, these trials, the path I’m on is actively cutting away dead weight and the dependencies of the world. What a merciful God! I don’t know what is next, I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I have faith in Him now and forever.

God bless!

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