We have a lot of rough roads around here. We sometimes take notice, but most of the time the fact of their existence is paved into our knowledge and acceptance of the routine.
Recently, we had an expected guest from the USA who unexpectedly stayed three nights instead of one. Far from being a problem, since we were on our year-end “staycation,” we enjoyed the extra time with our motorcycling friend from Tennessee. We drove him around a bit and showed him some of the local points of interest. He commented as we returned to our house that the road just inside our little neighborhood was pretty rough. Thinking about that, why yes, it is rough. We know this. Yet we rarely notice this.
Isn’t that the way life is? We have rough spots and persistent sins and difficulties. Most of us don’t think much about them very often. Perhaps when someone else mentions them to us, we might think more about these potholes that inhabit areas of our lives. We might even address them and ask God to fill them in or to help us fill them in. Or we might acknowledge them, and then go right on driving our lives around them or over and through them without ever seeing repairs made.
You know what happens when we do the latter? Problems get worse and things eventually break.
Take our minivan, for example. Some months ago we noticed an intermittent noise when we turned to the left, at slow speeds. It didn’t happen all the time, and so it didn’t seem to be an urgent problem. We talked it over with a co-worker who has a lot of mechanical expertise and decided it probably is a CV issue and could wait awhile, and maybe we could even get it addressed next summer while in the USA and where availability of parts would not be an issue.
Recently, we’ve been noticing that there is more noise and a bit of play in the steering wheel, and not just when we turn but whenever we drive over bumpy roads which seem to be most of the roads we drive on.
So, getting this looked at is a new item on my list of things to do this week before ministry and work routines pick back up next week. We have a favored auto shop up in Amealco that is good for this kind of work and cheap too. I’m thinking tomorrow will be a good day for that.
The Cobbled Road.
So, aside from the fact that our roads are bumpy and so are our lives, I started this post thinking of another cobbled road. There is one that we have to drive on in order to get to the apartment of Lupe and Rocío. After being unable to have our mid-week Bible study with them for about a month now, today was the day to resume that study. Since Lupe is working afternoon/evenings this week, we agreed to meet them at their home for the study at 11 a.m.
We drove up there this morning about 15 minutes late, and as we were entering their mountaintop neighborhood on the bone-jarring cobblestone drive (noticing the van noises and loose response in the steering wheel), we saw Rocío and a neighbor and Isaac and Noé walking up the street. Turns out I had missed a text message that she sent me yesterday evening. Lupe was going to have to work all night, so he would not be able to study today as he’d be sleeping. Glad we were 15 minutes late because we were a couple blocks away from their house, and we hadn’t disturbed him. Their bedroom is open to the front door, and knocking on their door would have surely disturbed his sleep.
Turns out she and the boys and the neighbor were walking to visit another local public school. They have one very close to them where they’re living, but that school wants to build a wall on the property and is demanding $800 pesos from all the parents to build it. That’s almost all of what Lupe makes in a week. No chance they’d have that kind of money. How is this a public school and yet demanding the individual parents pay for the construction of the facilities?
We offered them a ride to the school they were heading out to visit with a four-year old on foot and a toddler in a light stroller up he cobblestone street. They said it was a ways away. Turns out they were telling the truth. We ended up bumping along for close to 2 miles, all the while I could hear the noise in the steering column and feel the looseness in my hands as I drove. All the more evidence to convince me to not put off getting the van looked at immediately.
Most every week is routine. Most every week something unexpected happens. Had we not come across town and up the mountain, we wouldn’t have arrived at that point in the road to meet them just when we could have seen them. We hadn’t even recognized who was coming up the street until they waved at us. We’d have missed them had our timing been off by just a few more minutes. I’m sure they were grateful for the ride. I know I would have been.
Sometimes the unexpected is found in the routine things: the cobbled roads; our cobbled lives; the reminders that things sometimes need repaired. May we look to God continually to repair our cobbled habits and persistent potholes. I believe when we’re pliable and open to be repaired, He comes along at just the right time to do His perfect work.
Is there an equivalent name for God in the Bible that means the Great Cobbler? Perhaps Yahweh-Rapha (“rapha” = “healer”). The van won’t get fixed unless I take it to the healer-mechanic. Our lives don’t get fixed either, unless we take them to the Cobbler-Healer.
Take note of the routines in your life. I’m sure there are oft-traveled yet seldom-noticed potholes. God surely notices. May we take our lives to our Yahweh-Rapha for repairs. The problems only get worse when we wait. I’m sure He’s waiting for us to come to Him to ask Him to heal, to repair, and to fill in the potholes that befall, beset, and damage us.