Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Finding Good in My Afflictions

Thursday evening, my husband called to say the truck had a flat tire. The guys at work helped him put his spare on. 

Saturday morning, we woke to a deflated tire on the Yukon. Fix-a-Flat didn't cure it. After WalMart's lube guys changed it out for the full-size spare, we discovered the inside edge had been worn through. It needs four new tires and an alignment. That's an $850 bill on top of the $200 for the new tires on the truck. 

Monday, my husband takes the Yukon to work and is stopped at the plant gate. The registration card in the vehicle is expired, even though I received and applied the new stickers to my tag. I missed seeing the registration card on the receipt. We spend two days wondering if dear hubby would lose his job because of the infraction. 

Thursday, I step outside to clean the kids' pool. My 9-year-old decides to cook chicken noodle soup. Any other day, this would be fine. On this day, however, he turns on the wrong burner. (He's never turned on the wrong burner before, but I have...) It still wouldn't be a problem, but that day the plastic colander sat on the back burner, drying from its recent washing. And the boy had popped his head out to see what I was doing. When I asked him to help me remove the water from the pool, he happily grabbed a bucket and joined me poolside, forgetting he was cooking. Simple mistake. Until my 11-year-old came running out of the house, tears streaming down his face, screaming "Fire! Fire! Fire!" (Thankfully he'd paid attention to the teachings on fire safety.) I kicked off my flip flops and ran for the house. I faced two-foot flames and a burning colander on the stove top and counter. I turned the burner off. I carefully moved the colander from the counter top to the sink. (FYI - burning plastic doesn't like to go out.) I doused the flames with water. Then, forgetting that it's baking soda that puts out fire on an electric stove top, I grabbed the flour. When that didn't put the fire out, I splashed some water on. Thankfully, the only serious damage done was to the colander, and our smoke detector works. 

Friday night, my husband and I have a blow-out with one another. Not pretty. I spend a restless night on the couch, tossing and turning, crying out to God. I think I slept four hours before waking to his alarm. After I showered, we spent three hours locked in the master bathroom, struggling through our dissensions, working toward a renewed unity.

Can you say H-E-A-D-A-C-H-E?

Isn't this like most times of trial and tribulation? It's not one-thing-at-a-time. It's all of it hitting the fan. Like a snowball, starting with one, small thing. Once it starts rolling, we're facing an iceberg, wondering if it's going to sink our ship.

Sunday, my husband and I read Psalm 119 together. Imagine my surprise when God brought this verse out into the light:

"It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
 That I may learn Your statutes."
 ~ Psalm 119:71

Selah. Think about that. It is good for me that I've been afflicted. Say what? How is affliction a good thing?

Because it provides a learning experience in which God can get through to us. 

It's in our trials that we turn to Him. 

It's in our darkest moments that He can reveal the sin that's hidden in our hearts.  

It's in our weakest moments that He is strong. 

It's in our pain that He can make His presence known. 

It's in the affliction that we can learn a lesson about His goodness.  

These are the life-changing moments when we can decide to let go of our will and succumb to His will for our lives.

I ask you this: When you face trials and tribulations, when you find yourself facing afflictions on all sides, what is your response?

We can take Job's wife's recommendation. "Curse God and die!"

Or we can do what Jesus did. We can lay down our lives, our selfish desires, and we can take up the cross and follow hard after Him. We can ask God to remove those planks from our eyes, those roots from our hearts. We can ask Him to forgive us, to heal us, and allow Him to change our hearts.

The truck tires, the Yukon tires - they were simple lack of preparing ahead of time. We didn't set money aside, expecting the need to one day arise. Human error. Wrong spending. We need to deal with our financial issues.

The registration and two days of worry? Simple mistake. A pothole in the road. Fortunately, my husband is a dedicated worker who strives for excellence in his job. The company recognizes that and deemed it necessary to keep him.

The fire? Again, simple mistake. Sometimes, we try to do too much at once, or we don't concentrate on what we're trying to accomplish, and we "miss" the most important thing. What are we missing today?

The blow-out? Twelve years (almost thirteen) of allowing our same-old-selves to remain unchanged in certain areas. Granted, we've come a long way from the day we cut covenant with one another, but some things still need work. And that's exactly what it is. Work. But we'll make it work. Thankfully, we aren't afraid to change. We aren't afraid to face our own deficits. We are willing to give each other another chance to get it right. Just like Jesus gives each of us another chance upon repentance. Just like God's mercies are new every day... 

Photo Courtesy of Stephen Gibson


  1. Good one hun, I knew marrying you was a good idea. I only wish I would have thought of it first.

  2. Wow!! It's so good to know other's have weeks just like mine sometimes! It's also good to know that there are people who recognize God's tricky ways of teaching us things. I will remember this blog every time I face a challenge in life, and remember to do what Jesus did, allow God to change our hearts. Things happen for a reason, we all know that, but can we grow from them? Thanks for your blogging. Keep it up!!!
    Love you!!!

  3. Great thought! I love to read real people talking about real life then relating it to the Word. Kinda like Jesus did with parables...keep up the good writing!

  4. Great post Alycia - transparent, humble and hopeful!

  5. Right on, Alycia. I recently had three of the same kind of weeks (and blogged about it: "I am a Lazy Fool...sometimes" and "Interruption: Friend or Foe")

    God must be teaching the same thing all over the place, and I'm glad He does. Good to know you're not alone. It's a great thing when we can learn to look to our trials with expectancy and confidence in what God will do (and make us) through it.

  6. ATTA GURL (and GUY), Alycia and Vic. Devil thought he had you on that one! Pound him into oblivion with God's Word, His shed blood, and your Testimony. Love you guys. Pop

  7. I think God continues to teach us all...but especially us wives and moms! He knows we have the tough job of being the mediator in the family, so he has to keep us on our toes!

    (oh, and I loved what "anonymous" commented =o)


Thanks for sharing your thoughts here at My Thoughtful Spot! I love hearing them!