“Fall down seven times stand up eight.” Ancient Proverb
Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?
Job 2:10b (NIV)
One afternoon, my husband Jay got a call from our son Alex, he had a tractor stuck in the field. Jay took off in his pickup with a tow strap. When he got to the field it was clear he needed a tractor to do the job. Returning home he exchanged his pick up for a huge, fifteen ton tractor with six foot tall dual tires on all four wheels. It’s a big machine. Off he went.
An hour or so later, Alex called to ask when his Dad had left. I reported he should be there any minute. Not five minutes later my cell phone rang. Caller ID told me it was a local person, but why were they calling me? “Wrong number,” I thought, but something told me to answer anyway.
It was Jay.
“Mom, (he calls me mom and I call him dad) I have been in an accident!”
My heart immediately goes to my throat.
“I ran over a pickup with the tractor!”
“Is anyone hurt?” I ask.
“You should see the truck!!” he replies.
“Is anyone HURT?” I ask again, fear rising.
“No, no one was hurt, but you should see the truck!!”
“I will be right there,” I said.
When I arrived on the scene I was dumbfounded. Jay was on a narrow gravel road by the river and the road had a blind ninety degree curve. On the right was a steep, grassy bank, higher than the tractor (the tractor cab sits at least as high as a semi cab or higher). Trees to the left. It was a completely blind corner. The ditch by the bank was almost level with the road. As he entered the curve, suddenly, there was a four door, four wheel drive pickup, right in his path. The driver had taken the inside of the bank in the curve and was directly in front of the tractor. And there was no time to do anything.
“He doesn’t see me!” Jay thought and suddenly the left front set of duals were crawling up the drivers side of cab of the pickup, then the back two, he tried to push in the clutch to stop the tractor but it wouldn’t engage. The tow rope had slid underneath the clutch as the tractor tipped and balanced on the four tires that were on the right side of the tractor in the shallow ditch.
“I am going to tip over!” he thought as the grassy bank was suddenly just feet away from the right side of the cab.
“I am driving over the driver side of the truck, and the driver is in there!” his thoughts raced.
And just as quickly as it had begun it was over. He was back on all eight wheels, yanked the tow rope out from under the clutch and stopped the tractor. The whole accident probably took ten seconds. Ten long seconds. Uncertain of what he was about to see, he opened the tractor cab door and saw, much to his great relief, the driver climbing out of the passenger side, escaping the ordeal with only a slight cut from the broken glass! His old black Labrador Retriever escaped unharmed as well.
His Chevy pick up, however, was dead as a doornail.
Both men were badly shaken, but by the grace of God were alive and well! The sheriff who arrived at the scene could not believe that no one was seriously injured or killed. The entire drivers side of the truck from front of the hood to the rear tail light was completely crushed.
The name on the caller ID was the other driver who let Jay use his phone, and as I was telling him how very thankful I was that he was unharmed, he told me the scariest moment was when he saw the SECOND set of duals climbing up his hood.
He was ticketed for failure to yield half the roadway. Add insult to injury (his truck was totaled).
The tractor didn’t have a scratch on it.
Life is just like that. I am cruising along, doing my own thing and some fifteen ton machine rolls over the top of me and it looks as though it is going to crush me! Perhaps it was the time I was dumped or betrayed by someone I loved. And just when I thought it was over and I was grateful I had survived, the second set of duals climbs up the hood at me: a natural disaster occurs, financial difficulties set in, an unexpected health diagnosis nearly crushes me adding insult to injury. So many times I too have been badly shaken, but by the Grace of God have come out on the other side alive and well with barely a scratch when there is no logical explanation how I could have. There were times I survived by the grace of God when I did not deserve to.
The book of Job is the story of all of us. A terrible storm wipes out all of Job’s herds and livestock and kills all of his children and their families. Just when he thought it could not get worse it does. He is covered with painful boils and goes to the edge of town to the garbage dump to quarantine himself. He has lost everything worthwhile in life. His wife offers no comfort when she tells him to “curse God and die.” Thanks a lot dear. Then his “friends” show up to sit with him a while and then proceed to tell him that he must have done something to deserve all of this punishment from God.
With friends like that who needs enemies?
Life is unfair. I will lose people I love. My spouse has said hurtful things to me and I have said hurtful things to him. I have had and will have physical pain. Well meaning friends have hurt me by giving us unasked for advice that feels like criticism. It’s all is part of the gig.
But through it all our friend Job is not destroyed, he chooses not to curse God and die. Even though he may have felt like it. And I have the choice to not be destroyed by the certain pain and difficulty this life offers. Job’s faith was firm and it didn’t falter in the worst of times. That is faith that is real. Firmly grounded in a power greater than himself. A faith that doesn’t throw in the towel when the going gets tough or climb on to the pity pot to set up camp. Job stayed the course and so must I, despite being crushed , blessing lies ahead. If I have the courage to believe. And honestly, that which doesn’t kill me, has made me stronger.
Faith requires action, sometimes the only action necessary is the simple action of belief.
A favorite prayer of mine when I can’t make heads nor tails of life is “Lord, help my unbelief!”
Job 42:10 says that , “after Job prayed for his friends, (there we go again, that common theme of praying for those who hurt us), the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. “
Nothing lasts forever.
Except the promises of God.
Be joy filled always,