Friday, May 27, 2011

All We Like Turtles & Beetles & Sheep...

So, there are so many things this pic could metaphorically represent.

Almost out of gas/energy...

Running on empty...


Believe it or not, this is actually more than a metaphor.

This was my reality a few days ago...AND...I snapped this pic at the point of thanksgiving for this tremendous blessing! 

How could a near empty tank of gas be a blessing for which to be thankful, you ask?

As my son and I were facing a 30+ mile drive home from his "summer camp" (a.k.a. summer daycare for a five-year-old) we actually had LESS gas in the tank than what you see in the above pic.  AND, thanks to an untimely bill-paying blunder, our bank account was, well, far more empty than the gas tank.  Oh, the conundrum.

Then I recalled the three dollars I chose not to spend on a soft drink or snack at work.  After a little more thought, I remembered the five quarters I had in my car console.  So---I now had come up with a whopping $4.25!  Not much, when you consider gas prices these days, but more than nothing.

We pulled up to the pump.  I went inside and payed, which actually took longer than the subsequent pumping of the gas did.  As we drove off, I didn't see much change in the location of the gas needle.  My son and I joined in a prayer as I drove (with my eyes open) and thanked God for providing for all of our needs always.  We also asked God to multiply this tiny amount of gas as He did the fish and the bread so many years ago for that huge crowd.

And the needle eased up higher...and higher. 

I took this pic as it reached its crest.  I was and am more thankful for that gallon and a sliver of gas than I have ever been for a full tank.  We made it home with enough to spare for me to reach the gas station the next morning and fill up before the long drive back to the grind.  (Thankfully my paycheck was scheduled to go in at midnight following this episode.)

Why am I so transparent about this humbling situation with you?

One---you are not alone if you are or have been in similar circumstances.  God does provide.  Not always in abundance as we often hope for, but just enough just when it's needed most.  If He doesn't provide what or when we think He should, there is a reason.  He WILL pull His children through and cause all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  (Romans 8:28)

Two---All We Like Turtles & Beetles & Sheep...  What?  Am I losing my mind along with my full tank of gas?  No.  You see, lately I have been reading the Mark Twain classic Tom Sawyer to my son as part of our bedtime reading.  One recent chapter cleverly described a situation with a beetle lying helplessly on its back in the aisle of the church while Tom was already struggling to pay attention.  Its little legs were flailing in the air in unsuccessful attempts to gain contact with the ground so it could skitter away to safety.  In the meantime, a curious dog began interacting with it in a distracting manner (still during the church service...IN the sanctuary, apparently).  Without finishing the story for you, I have introduced my beetle and turtle point. 

Beetles and turtles are similar in that they can end up on their backs and thereby end up in a very frustrating and helpless situation until someone comes along and helps them...or hurts them. 

Sheep---oh sheep.  Stubborn.  Hard-headed.  Creatures of habit.  Easily distracted and lured off course.  Lazily doing what seems okay and even good, only to find themselves in the grips of a hungry wolf at supper time.

Me.  You .  How many times have we found ourselves like sheep going down the same paths that have gotten us into trouble before rather than carefully considering and choosing wisely even when it was not the most enticing choice?  Then, like beetles and turtles, we find ourselves flat on our back trying with all of our human might to save ourselves but ultimately helpless on our own. 

These are the times we are most reminded of our utter need for and dependence upon our Heavenly Father, Faithful Provider, Creator, Redeemer, Wonderful Counselor, and Undying Friend.

I got busy with life's daily tasks and even a bit comfortable with what seemed to be a slightly improving financial situation and did not watch our finances as closely as I should have and normally would have.  Then it snuck up on us.  Unfortunately, like the sheep, this isn't the first time.  But, this time, rather than beat myself up over it and wring my hands in dire fear and hopelessness, I immediately gave my concerns and mistakes to God.  He immediately renewed my peace and joy as only He can. 

We will get through this.  Not because of my intelligent handling of the family finances, but only because my God is Jehovah Jireh---The Lord Who Provides, Who Sees, Who Will See to It (Genesis 22:12-14) and He will get glory through this while I grow in my faith in Him through it.  And hopefully my husband and son and many others will grow in their faith through it as well.

Do you sometimes feel like a turtle, beetle, or sheep?

How have you seen God pull you through big (and little) mistakes 
you have made as well as tough times?

Do share!

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