I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations. -Psalm 89:1
Overall, I do much more complaining than I do singing of steadfast love. I am so accustomed to common, everyday grace like a roof over my head, a strong, hot cup of coffee, and a wife who loves me that it takes an act of God to shake me back into joy. Seems like that’s a fairly widespread condition amongst us. We assume grace. We assume our next breath, and when it comes we are no more thankful for it than our last. Sometimes it takes a good shake to bring us back to our senses.
And that’s just what I was given the other day.
Coming home from a week of rest with family and friends, Peggy and I were twelve and a half hours into our thirteen hour trip back to Seattle and we were not too far from the sun rising on a new day as we approached home. The radio was cranked and we were singing along as we began to taste the finish line and our comfortable bed. Nothing could stop us so close to home. Nothing, I suppose, except for what happened next.
As we turned the corner approaching Tacoma in our rental car, we noticed some debris in our lane. No matter though, it would have been too late to swerve, and what looked to be at worst a piece of a shredded semi-truck tire in the road posed no apparent threat to our own tires. But alas. We could feel a rumbling beneath us that belied my initial assessment. Whatever we were running over was not going as quietly into the night as I would have expected. And so I began to slow down to see if a change of speed would cause the intruding obstacle to leave us in peace. No such luck.
In fact, as we looked outside to see if we could identify the debris, what we saw were sparks. I remembered Bruce Springstein’s words, “You can’t start a fire without a spark.” If it just takes a spark to light a fire (that and maybe some, I don’t know, oil, gasoline, etc.), then we were in dangerous proximity to our rental car ending up in similar condition to this one.
Still having no idea what was causing this impending disaster, we pulled the car over to the median (scoff at that decision if you will, but it seemed like a better idea than crossing three lanes of traffic with a ticking time bomb!).
When I assessed the damage, I could not believe my eyes. We were leaking gas like there was no tomorrow. The seemingly benign debris turned out to be a fence post bent on destruction. It had rattled around under the car and found a home in, of all places, our gas tank! In other words, the fence post had simultaneously caused us not only to dump all of our gas, but as it scraped the pavement, it was also creating sparks.
As unlikely as it seemed that a stray piece of wrought iron would cause such mayhem, it has to be a thousand times more unlikely that the combination of sparks and leaking gasoline did not join forces.
Over the past few days, I have been reflecting on what it means to be in the hands of a faithful God. In his sovereignty, if he had decided to let nature take it’s course, what could we have said? He is good. His plan for the world, and for us, would still be good.
And yet, in this case, I cannot come up with a reason for our continued life other than the sheer grace of God.
So I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord today.
And by his grace, I will sing forever.