Driving me crazy

When Jesus was growing up in Nazareth, his family must have owned a donkey. It was a stubborn creature, old, unreliable, and mean-tempered. They did what they could with it, but it tested their patience. They would have preferred a different beast of burden, but it was all they could afford. In fact, keeping it fed and in good health cost them considerably, but their family needed it to get things done.

The Bible and the Church assure us that Jesus understands us because he is one of us. He is fully God, but he is also fully human. He was tempted in every way we are tempted, but he never sinned. When we pray about our problems, he understands, because he has faced the same problems himself.

My car is a twenty-year-old Escort. It’s not a Lincoln or Cadillac or Buick—just a common Ford to carry me home. It still gets decent gas mileage—about thirty miles per gallon, sometimes better on long journeys. I have the oil changed regularly and other maintenance as needed. But like the donkey back in Nazareth, there are days when my old car tests my patience and tempts me to sin.

Tuesday was one of those days. I left work, walked to my car, got in, and turned the key. It coughed once and died. The reason was obvious: a dead battery. I have enough experience with cars to know when a battery can be jumpstarted and when it is simply dead, dead, dead. This battery was beyond hope and needed to be replaced.

I called home for help. Fortunately a member of the family was available to bring me my tools and give me a ride to Walmart. Less fortunately, Walmart was out of stock of the battery my car needed. We made another stop at an auto parts store and bought the right battery for thirty dollars more than Walmart would have charged. I was driven back to my car, put in the new battery, and was ready to drive again.

Thursday was another of those days. As I drove to work, I saw that one of my warning lights was flickering on and off. The meaning of the warning was low oil pressure. I left work early that afternoon and took the car to our regular mechanic. The warning light did not come on during that afternoon drive. I described the problem to the mechanic and suggested that the oil be changed, since the scheduled change was only a few weeks away. He changed the oil and checked the other systems for the usual fee. He assured me that the oil level was not low and suggested that the light could have been triggered by a faulty sensor.

God does not permit problems in the lives of his people for no reason. We are told that suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. Our hope is in Jesus, who lived among us as one of us and faced all the problems we face. He was tempted, but he never sinned. He shares his victory with us. Because he suffered for us, we are victorious even when we suffer. We are more than conquerors, because he has defeated all our enemies and welcomes us to be partners in his celebration.

Jesus never changed a car battery or a tire. He never had a computer crash, losing all his writing and his photographs. He never had to call a plumber or an electrician. He never had to file an insurance claim. Yet his first-century life had its share of frustrations, no doubt. Jesus had to battle traffic in Capernaum and Nain and other cities. He probably had rude and annoying neighbors. And of course there was that donkey.

Jesus understands our problems. Technology has changed the way we live, but it has not changed human nature. Annoyances and frustrations and unpleasant surprises happen to us all. They always have, ever since sin entered the world, and they always will, until Christ appears in glory to make everything new. But God’s grace and mercy and love are also unchanging. Hope does not disappoint us. The Lord is in charge, and we can rely upon him in all things. J.

10 thoughts on “Driving me crazy

  1. Reminded me of the road rage I experienced driving into Washington DC. I had to do something to distract myself from the fact I was sitting endlessly, every day, in stop and crawl traffic. So I started listening to books on tape. Eventually I listened to the Bible.

    With the trials He brings us, our Lord does help us to grow.


  2. Storms. Jesus had storms, too. And dusty feet that required washing, all the time. I wonder about callouses and blisters, and stickers and other sharp things in the road.

    Ah, but take heart, Salvageable. My car is a 1986 and God has been so gracious to me that it not only keeps running, it passed its smog text again last year. By His grace alone. And the afflictions are exactly as you said: for bringing about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character, and proven character, hope. And the next verse says, And hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. I didn’t get that until just now. Our suffering is directly connected to God’s love for us. Thanks so much for this thought-provoking article.


    Liked by 2 people

  3. Such a good word here, J. In between all of the parables, sermons and various teachings, Jesus and his crew were simply men living their lives with all of life’s attendant trials. Of course, He pulled if off perfectly and sinlessly, yet felt every single trial just as we would have. That’s pretty awesome to ponder on, so thanks for the food for thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. such a wonderfully apt and timely reminder—oh—if you took your battery with you, some places, with Walmart being one, will knock off some of the cost of the new battery taking the old one in on trade…I’ve learned that both the hard and easy way 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Julie. Usually that rebate only happens when you take the failed battery to the place where you bought it, and Walmart didn’t have the battery we needed, so they offered nothing for the old one. But in this state they add a ten dollar fee to the cost of a battery and take that ten dollars off if you give them the old battery. That I did. J.

      Liked by 1 person

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