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Vacation Nightmare

Posted on August 28, 2019 at 10:10 AM

Dear Saints; 

While traveling home from a wonderful vacation to the Colorado Rockies, my wife and I, along with three dogs (if you count Pedro the chihuahua) found ourselves stranded on the side of Interstate 57 in southern Illinois. Apparently, I filled up the truck with some contaminated fuel which, in time, blew the fuel system up. Not an easy fix on the side of a busy highway. Especially towing a 40-foot camping trailer. Thankfully we were able to get both the truck and the camper towed to the Chevy dealer in Marion, Illinois for repairs on the truck. Being late on a Friday evening I was not able to get the truck into the shop, so we spent the night in the camper on the back lot of the Chevy dealership. Not exactly a scenic spot, but at least it was safe and close to help. 

The next morning, we waited for the mechanic on duty to give us some explanation as to why my new truck gave up the ghost without warning. I was surprised to learn that the fuel had been contaminated with gasoline (not good for a diesel truck) and was immediately accused of putting the wrong fuel in the truck. Of course, I bowed up in pride and swore that I would never do such a thing. I had done that very thing with another truck once before but wasn’t about to divulge that information. To her credit my wife, even under extreme duress, came to my defense and said she actually witnessed me push the button for diesel at the last pump. But like always, whose fault it was is not the real issue. The real issue was that the entire fuel system needed to be replaced to get it fixed properly which they announced would take a week or two for the parts and repairs.

Although I was grateful that there had been no loss of limb or life up to this point, I began to question what I had done to cause this problem. To add to insult to injury I soon found out the dealership had no “loaners” for me and that the estimated cost of repairs would be just short of ten thousand dollars. Now I began to have serious doubts concerning my ability to “count it all joy” as James says and to be assured that God still loved me. After teaching the gospel message for well over forty years, I found it amazing how quickly the thoughts of “I will be worthy if…” can flood your thinking. There is no question that unbelief is truly the “sin that so easily besets us”. With the unbelief concerning God’s love for me and my own worth as a person comes all the destructive emotions of hatred, self-pity, and anxiety which makes it impossible to actually love another person and setting the stage for extreme marital discord and strife. Sandi and I were set up for failure. 

But God be thanked there is more to hard times than one problem after another. With every trial comes the grace to cope with it in a healthy way. Simply trusting the Spirit to guide our decisions we were able to rent a car and have our camper towed to a nice campground to wait for the truck to be repaired. While the insurance coverage was a welcome relief the divine “assurance” was the most amazing thing about this situation. God gave us a brand-new perspective on the whole problem. Instead of thinking about it as a ruined vacation we saw it as an extended vacation in which we spent quality time together relaxing and loving each other. Even though it wasn’t planned, God’s love and provisions for us turned a nightmare into a dream.

John 

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