You probably have no trouble thanking God when you recognize a blessing. Your child is healthy, you got a raise, you found the right mate—these and other blessings just naturally evoke our thanks. But do you thank Him for a flat tire or for delaying your plans or for other such things? Probably most of us don’t, but I remember vividly a story that happened to a real life family and which bears on this situation.
This family was traveling northbound on US 287. I don’t know their point of origin or their destination, but they were headed toward Wichita Falls. Just outside of Bowie, Texas, they had a flat tire.
Even though they were traveling at highway speed, they were able to maintain control of the car and get stopped. They got the tire changed and resumed their trip after a delay of some 20 or 30 minutes. About 35 or 40 miles later as they neared the tiny town of Jolly, they came upon a horrible wreck in which several people were killed.
The highway was blocked anyway, so the man got out to see if there was anything he could do to help. In talking to others, he learned the time the accident had taken place. He realized as he stood there that if he had not had the flat tire he would have arrived at that point just as the accident took place. He and his entire family would likely have been killed.
That story has stuck with me for many years now. In all honesty, I can’t say I thank God for red lights or slow drivers, but I do frequently thank Him for things which don’t appear on the surface to be blessings. Probably because of that story, flat tires have always been an easy one for me, and I have some stories of my own where I was thankful for a flat tire.
Once, I was leaving Corpus Christi near dusk, headed back to Fort Worth. I’d just returned from an extended vacation and had failed to notice that my tires were wearing thinner than they should be. A few miles out of Corpus I had a flat just as I came to the entrance to a rest area. I was able to pull into the rest area instead of stopping on the side of the road to change my tire. I pulled into a tire place in San Antonio just before they closed, where I discovered all four of my tires needed to be replaced. If I’d gotten there 15 minutes later, they would have been closed. I would either have had to stay overnight or else proceed on worn tires without a spare.
Another time, Sharon and I left Fort Worth in mid-afternoon to head for California on vacation. We had a flat tire about an hour west of home, and the blown tire came apart and damaged the rear fender and rear air conditioner on my van. If I’d gone even 20 miles farther before the blowout, I wouldn’t have been able to get back to town to a tire store before it closed.
This happened on a Friday, and I was able to get into an auto repair facility the next morning to get repairs done on the damage the tire had caused. Heading west from Fort Worth toward California, there’s a lot of empty space where there are no cities large enough to have the repairs done—particularly on a weekend—so once again I was glad not only to have a flat, but also of the timing.
What seeming bad things have you realized you needed to thank God for?
If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
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