My dad told me of a man, Dale Lundgren, who would travel and speak of a car accident that left him in a wheelchair. Dale went on to sing and share his story in many churches. See, Dale understood that “our disappointments are God’s appointments.”
We have been leaning into that truth this past week. The day before our months-long RV road trip that started last week, the RV’s auto-leveling system stopped working. My husband and some friends worked to repair it so we could get on the road as planned. If there was anything to do to prepare for safety on the road, my husband had done it. There was even a small crack in the pulling truck’s windshield, so he brought it in for repairs before we left. He worked hard to keep our family safe and was vigilant about every task.
The day our cross-country trip was to begin, we invited some friends to join us at our church. What a sweet time we had, saying goodbye, and praying together. Within three hours of our departure, we entered a bad rainstorm. The rain also coincided with a promised bathroom break, so we pulled under an awning at a gas station, and I took the kids inside to use the bathroom. We ran through the rain to get back to the truck with as much good nature as we could muster, me with four children getting clobbered on by the rain. I reminded the kids, “The rain is fun if we think it is fun,” but it was I who needed to hear that the most.
When we pulled out from under the awning, the rain came pouring into the truck through the middle section of the windshield. I held a thick baby blanket up to absorb it until the storm passed. For a short time, the speakers stopped working, which took more wind out of our figurative sails. My husband and I exchanged many glances, and I made several phone calls.
There were more disappointments waiting at the first stop. The auto-leveling system wouldn’t work, again. By now, the disappointment my husband wore was palpable. For thirty minutes, he worked to get it adjusted manually.
The next day, we had the windshield repaired under warranty and purchased a new battery for the RV, which thankfully fixed the auto-leveling system. That wasn’t to be the last disappointment of the week, though. During the second leg of the journey, only three days later, one of the two beds in the kids’ room came crashing down from the ceiling where it was locked during travel.
Oh, how discouragement crouches at the doorway! As a spirit not from God, it waits for the opportunity to point the finger - at God, others, and oneself.
As we continued the drive, we prayed, then for an appointment – for strong men who would gladly help us lift the heavy bed and a deep lot that would allow us to lower the back patio to get to it. God answered those prayers. Our assigned RV lot backed up to forty feet of grass and was right next to a family with kids for ours to play with. Others came by immediately to say hello and help. God’s grace upon grace was not lost on us.
In Proverbs 3:13, Solomon wrote, “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding” (ESV). We could live under our disappointments and allow discouragement to keep us from enjoying this time together – or from even continuing the trip. Or we could live under the wisdom and thank God for his provisions, for a faulty auto leveling system that taught us our battery was dead. We could live under the wisdom and appreciate a leaking windshield as one of the various trials of life, knowing that the testing of our faith develops endurance (James 1:2-4).
We could live under the wisdom and thank God for a bed that fell and did very little damage and yet connected us to two couples with children, working on their marriage and praying for Christian friends. Their very presence ministered to our children and us during our stop. We shared many meals together, went to church together, and encouraged each other toward holy desire.
Wisdom looks past what is seen and trusts in the Lord, acknowledging Him in all one’s ways. (Prov. 3:5-6) Whether rich or poor, under trial or in peace, we are blessed when we search out the Scriptures to discover the mind and the heart of our Savior in our day to day.
Prayer: Father, please bring to mind your Word when disappointment comes knocking. My flesh wants to live by what I feel, but my flesh is born into sin and so easily deceives me. You promise that You will work all things out for good for those who love You (Romans 8:28) and that the plans You have for me are to prosper me and not to harm me (Jeremiah 29:11). Help me to discipline my mind to memorize Your Word and purify my ambitions so I might please You (2 Corinthians 5:9). Amen.
Your Turn: Have you considered how a recent disappointment might be an appointment from Him? Are you willing to let him direct your paths? What Bible verses or passages could you memorize to strengthen your inner man? Are you standing on the promises of God, your Savior, as an old hymn says? Does the music you listen to encourage your spiritual maturity? Do the friendships you maintain continuously point you to the Only Faithful One?