The dark day started with a stolen GPS. After a yearlong sabbatical, I was preparing for my first writers group meeting, which was at a church an hour away from home.
Being directionally challenged causes me to have an unhealthy dependence on my GPS, so I scoured the car and house in a frantic search. Nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada.
Frustration has a way of making me bend to the Retribution Principle, which is riddled throughout the psalter. I want justice, not mercy! I want to pay back, not offer grace! I forgave the person who stole my GPS and asked God for forgiveness for the thoughts that went through my mind when I first realized I’d been robbed.
Although God quickly convicted me for my initial reaction, I questioned if I was even supposed to be a part of this writers group. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to make the long drive or risk being challenged to grow. I reasoned that the path toward healing was too long, too dark, and too unknown. Maybe I should just stay home, Lord.
Well, staying home cowering in fear never gets me anywhere fast, so I decided to go old-school and printed directions from Mapquest.
Our first meeting was designed to encourage one another, focusing on the positive aspects of each project and affirming each writer with kind words. I left inspired.
When I was on the freeway, I heard a strange sound, like something bumping against the inside wall of my trunk. I prayed for God’s protection and kept right on praising Him, all the way home!
The next morning, my son noticed I had a flat tire. I’m talking FLAT!
He grabbed the keys to my daughter-in-law’s car, which he’s been using to drive to work while she recovers from ankle surgery.
I thanked God for His provision, as well as for His protection the night before. I don’t even want to think about how it would have felt to be stranded in the dark, with my husband out of town until the next day.
One call was all it took to get a rescue team on site.
Since my son had to work right after school, his godfather and godbrothers (aka my nephews) came by to put on my spare and followed me to the tire shop.
Did I mention it was my nephew’s birthday?
Again, I thanked the guys for sacrificing their time, and gas, to help me, especially with Alan being gone.
The shop manager told me the car wouldn’t be ready until closing. I thanked the Lord, once again, for the two new tires, as well as for having us set aside some extra money the week before. Even though spending that money meant it wouldn’t be used for what I was originally saving it for.
Later that night, my amazing sister in Christ left her son’s birthday party and drove me to the tire shop to pick up my car. I gushed over the mechanic. “You have no idea how much you blessed me by fixing my car, even though you had a full schedule.”
He smiled, head lowered, and handed over my keys. “I heard what you said when you thanked those guys for helping you. And I thought about my sister. What would I want someone to do if she was in your situation?”
I choked out a thank you and said, “God bless you, brother.”
As I drove home, praise spilled from my lips. I reflected on God’s cascading lovingkindness in my life.
God is my guide, using His Holy Word and Mapquest to show me the way I should go.
God blessed me with a wise husband who knows how to manage money and save, even when the funds end up being used for an emergency, other than for what we had originally planned.
God protects me, even when I have no clue about how much I need protecting.
God uses the simple acts of kindness of others to affirm His great love for me, especially when I’m feeling afraid or alone.
And God allows me the privilege to thank Him by serving others in His name.
As each kind deed or encouraging word hits the pool of water, that is my heart, it causes a ripple effect. I desire to give more, love more, care more.
Living a selfless life, extending kindness and grace to others, is the best way to thank God for all He’s done for us.
Today is a bittersweet day.
In 2001, the world was paralyzed by disbelief as innocent people were attacked on American soil when the twin towers were destroyed by terrorists. We grieved the loss of thousands, ached over the physical and emotional scars suffered by those who survived.
Yet, by God’s grace, we also saw beautiful expressions of kindness and love as people joined together to help strangers. Many sacrificed their lives for people they’d never even met.
Love and kindness cascaded in the midst of hardship, grief and affliction. When we choose kindness, God’s love flows through His people, igniting hope, no matter how dark our situation may seem.
The apostle Paul wrote: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14, NIV)
Lord, please help us never to forget those impacted by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Help us to be aware of others, to be sensitive to their needs, both spoken and unspoken. Give us courage to reach out when we need help and to be available to serve in tangible ways when others need to know You care.
Help kindness cascade through our lives, instead of trickling through the dessert of our natural tendencies toward self-preservation or self-preoccupation. Thank You for reminding us that kindness makes a difference. In Jesus’ name, Amen
How have you experienced God’s love through a person’s simple act of kindness in your life?
Photo #1 provided by Lauren Pfahlert