Saturday, January 28, 2017

How To Conquer Impossible Obstacles

Oh no. I was driving from my brother's house to the rehab center where my mom had spent her first night alone since her terrible fall and broken hip and elbow. It was snowing, which freaked me out because I am not a skillful snow driver. It is true in upstate NY that it takes a few inches of snow to make the well-plowed and treated roads dangerous, but I was very nervous.

That wasn't the terrible part. The terrible part was the salty dirty roads were kicking up a mess on my windshield. So I tapped my windshield washer lever. No fluid. GREAT. The warmth loving North Carolina fluid must be frozen in the lines! Last year this happened and it took two days in a car dealer's heated garage to thaw it, and put northern climate washer fluid in the car.

The dry windshield wipers streaked dirt and mud all across my visual field. I spent the half hour drive obsessing about the entire undetermined length of time I would be in NY helping Mom adjust, and how on earth could I do it with frozen wipers, snowy roads, and frigid days? I tried to plan my entire future while peering through the mud streaked windshield.

I made it to the rehab center safely. Mom was discouraged. She had been struggling with the new center's method of standing her (which hurt), had to have blood work (which hurt), and had to have other unpleasant procedures which were set backs (and which hurt). She was worried about whether she was capable of all they would ask of her in rehab. She didn't feel the rehab nurses were as competent in moving her as the ICU nurses. She didn't want the drugs they offered because she didn't want to be on new drugs her whole life, and didn't understand they were temporary. She was sad and worried about her entire future.

I explained to her that the goals of the hospital and rehab were different. The hospital had just wanted to keep her alive. She had indeed lived. Now the hard work of rehab began. Their goal was to return her to independence. I reminded her that she needed to celebrate little victories, and not look ahead to the next several months and all the struggles they held.

I asked if she remembered what she told my brother when his wife gave birth to a (wonderful) son who had Down's Syndrome. They were of course overwhelmed, thinking ahead to the entire life and all they would need to face over the next few decades.

Mom told him, "Do you know what to do in the next five minutes?"
"Yes," he said.
"Do that. Then work on the five minutes after that."

I have always loved that advice, and even use it when I speak over the sound system to the abortion minded women as a pro-life sidewalk counselor. They are often overwhelmed as they obsess over how they will handle the next eighteen years if they let their baby live. I explain to them that none of us can handle the thought of all the obstacles life will throw at us when we consider them all at once. But anyone can endure almost anything the next five minutes hold.

"Does that encourage you?" I asked.

She did well the rest of the day, and had some nice successes in her therapy. Once she was settled, I drove my car to a nearby Monroe Tire service center. I asked if my car could sit in their heated garage and thaw the frozen washer fluid lines. They agreed. They were very sympathetic over my poor Mom and the reason my southern car was in this frozen northern world.

Then I realized that I had been pushing the wrong lever for the windshield washers! I pushed the right lever, and they worked just fine. The kind mechanic topped off my fluid with an impossible-to-freeze mixture just in case.

"What do I owe you?" I asked sheepishly, ashamed of all the fruitless wasted worry.
"Nothing," he said.

That's how God works. He gives us all we need for each day, and promises us that when we trust Jesus as Lord, our eternal salvation is secure. We need not worry. Our future is in His hands., and His gift of eternal life costs us nothing.

Philippians 4:6-7 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. ...

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

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