The air was heavy, and thick clouds blotted out stars. The Hyundai’s headlights seemed to disappear as they tried to illuminate the jet-black highway. My granddaughter and I were up and on the road before dawn. She had spent a week with us, but now we were on our way to her home in Louisiana. We left early in the morning because she had a part in the special church service at her church, and we needed to be there on time. As we drove on into the inky night, we listened to the C. S. Lewis book, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

An hour or so into our trip, the sky began to lighten. Even though the road still had the black look of night, the sky was already more bluish than charcoal. Just before dawn, the eastern sky began gently glowing with blended hues of gold and orange. The first golden rays of the day showed a beautiful landscape, as the warm light showed off fields with a layer of fog. The colors of dawn mixed with the fog to present an ethereal, early morning landscape. 

Once the sun rose, it began to burn off the fog. As the beautiful colors of dawn gave way to the bright sunlight of morning, I began to feel drowsy. By this time, we were driving I-49, and the tires beat out a monotonous rhythm as they sailed over the gray road beneath them. I was so sleepy; I realized that it wasn’t safe for me to continue to drive. At the next exit, I pulled off the interstate and found a place to park. I stepped out of the car into the cool morning air to stretch and try to wake up. I left the car running so that my granddaughter could continue to listen to her book. As I exited the car, an alarm began to beep because the key fob was no longer in the car; It was in my pocket. So that the alarm wouldn’t bother my granddaughter, I took the key fob out of my pocket and laid it on top of the car. The fob was now close enough to the car to quiet the alarm.

After walking around the car for a couple of minutes, I felt awake enough to continue. I climbed back into the car, and we headed off again. At the next exit, I saw a gas station, so we stopped there for a break. When I stopped, I noticed that my dashboard displayed the notice, no key detected. “Uh, oh,” I thought, remembering that I had laid my keys on the roof of the car to stop the alarm. What was I going to do now? If I shut the car off, I would not be able to restart it. I headed back to the exit where I had stopped the car. I walked the route the car had taken to get back on the interstate, but I never found the key fob. I couldn’t take any more time looking, because I had to get my granddaughter to her church program.

As I drove back onto the highway and headed for Shreveport, I was now wide awake. I was also very angry with myself. How could I have been so stupid? What was I going to do about the situation? If I ever turned the car off, I would not be able to restart it. I was many, many miles away from home. The first thing I had to do was get my granddaughter to her program, but what was I going to do after that? I decided that I would have to find the Hyundai dealer in Shreveport and see if they had a new key fob and could program it to work on my car. I knew that it would be expensive and wondered if they would have the fob in stock. I was in a very bad mood.

When we arrived at the church, I dropped my granddaughter off and headed for the Hyundai dealer. When I pulled up to the service department, the service manager looked at me with a mixture of amusement and disbelief as I told him my story. He checked with his parts department, and they did have a new fob in stock. About 45 minutes later, I was pulling out of the dealership and headed back to the church. I had a new key fob and my situation was solved, but I was still in a foul mood. Maybe it was the $363.00 that I had just spent. How could I have been so stupid? I made it back to the church in time to hear the last part of the sermon.

I was still angry and upset when I walked into the church. My daughter was the speaker, and I had missed most of her sermon. When I walked into the sanctuary and sat down, she was reading from James 1:2,3 (NKJV) “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” Suddenly, my dark mood melted away. I noticed the incredible timing of the reading of that verse. I was not counting it joy. I was feeling very sorry for myself. But after realizing that my situation was just an expensive, annoying trial and that the situation could have been much worse, my mood brightened. The rest of my day with my daughter and granddaughter was wonderful. 

Gentle Reader, we are to count what we are going through as joy, not because the thing itself is pleasurable, but because trials work patience in us. There is at least one good thing happening to us in the middle of a bad situation. Our trials are not an exercise in futility. God has a purpose, and that purpose is always good. We can count all things joy because God is working in all situations, even the most painful, for our good. “We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.” Romans 8:28 (VOICE)

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