My family has stuff. No way around it with a tribe of seven. We have 11 bicycles in our garage. That “dirty dozen minus one” has bullied my car into parking outside during the warmer months. I’ve dealt with it. Not a big deal until last week – when it rained.
Like Eddie Rabbitt, I love a rainy night. I love it for two reasons: the drone of rain on the roof is soothing, and my car gets washed. Unfortunately, nature’s washing of my car has become intrusive.
On a recent drive to work following a nighttime rain event, I was greeted by unwelcome wetness. My forearm and pant leg were assaulted by a procession of drips from my car’s headliner. Great. Fantastic. Splendid. More salt in my wound of wanting everything perfect. Didn’t we talk about this, God? I know, another ‘opportunity’ for growth. But is it too much to ask that I show-up to work without having to explain why my pants are wet?
I butt-scooted in the driver’s seat to avoid further wetness while working hard to maintain a steady foot on the accelerator. As the drips fell in steady rhythm, my discontent mushroomed. My contortions to control the vehicle were fuel for my cynicism. I eventually succumbed to the allure of self-pity and boarded the train of bitterness.
I was being a coward.
Courage is required to engage life’s frustrations with big-picture perspective. Unfortunately, courage is not a commodity. It must be grown and developed and practiced. We understand the need for courage in times like job loss, illness, or when trapped in a den of lions. Courage must also be summoned when confronted with leaky car roofs and broken lawn tractors. When a firm word needs to be spoken, courage must partner with love and grace. It should be deployed to close a mouth that wants to instruct, when a listening ear is what’s needed. Courage must be at the ready when facing the disappointment of unmet expectations.
Jesus was the most courageous man ever. Not once did he relent to cowardice. He didn’t side-step or play the victim. On the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus courageously engaged his destiny. In John’s gospel it says, “Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”” (John 18:4, ESV) Jesus knew what was coming. The ridicule. The torture. Separation from His Father. The ultimate death experience. Still, he “came forward.” No hiding. No complaining. No self-pity. No bitterness. Jesus courageously confronted the Cross.
Richard Baxter said, “We strive for unspeakable glory, and nothing should seem too difficult, or sufferings too great.” The path to glory is unpredictable. Much courage is required. But great is the finished work of our Courageous Pioneer, Jesus Christ.
My leaky roof and wet pants no longer seem like such a big deal.