We bought our motorbike in Thailand about five weeks ago. In the last few weeks, we have had to take it in six different times to get a couple different items fixed. After those six times, the bike still wouldn’t start 80% of the time, and when it did start, it was shaking when we drove it. I’m not a mechanic, but I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to do that.
This past weekend Nicole and I were driving to church on a highway, about 20 minutes from our house. As we were driving, I was praying quietly. I had been patient for a while with the bike stuff, but had begun to get frustrated. I was frustrated that it wasn’t working. I was frustrated that it had taken so much time taking it back and forth from the bike shop, waiting there to get it fixed, and/or having to go rent a bike while ours was being fixed (on top of the fact that things tend to take about four times as long to get done here anyway),. I was praying to God, asking Him for patience. Telling Him to give me faith, and peace, and patience – no matter what… !!SNAP!! Right at that instant, as I was mid prayer, our bike stopped working. I would rev the engine, no response. Our belt had snapped.
Terrific (sarcastic). This story has a great ending (not sarcastic), which I will tell you at the end.
Through all of this, I had a little more time to process (and make myself home at the mechanic’s shop)…. is God truly enough for me to be content? Am I truly content with Him, regardless of whatever happens, or however crappy our bike is (or even if I have one at all)? Or do I need those things to have a good attitude? Do I rely on efficiency, community, transportation, food, or feeling somewhat successful in order to be… content?
I don’t think it’s bad to desire those things at all – these are good and wonderful things God has given us. But where I need to be careful is that the creation never takes precedence over the Creator. Where do you draw the line between having natural, healthy, desires vs. relying on things for your contentment? I know that our contentment should be based on God, and who He is, and what He has done. (Matthew 6:19-34, Philippians 4:4-13), but for me that’s a little (ok, a lot ) easier said than done.
Right now I’m reading A.W. Tozer’s Pursuit of God. In one section, he writes:
“The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately, and forever.”
This makes me really question, do I actually derive all my pleasure and satisfaction from God, regardless of my earthly treasures or circumstances? Or do I merely love the IDEA of that – because it’s an easy one to love while I still have all my comforts and treasures? To not just bear tough and frustrating circumstances, but as James says… consider these things a JOY?
It’s one thing to be called to Thailand… but it’s another thing to be called to Thailand and to not have a way to get around, or have constant stomach problems, or have a washer that leaks, or have to go through the rigors of learning a completely different language while also working on top of it. I mean… we have already given up enough, haven’t we? We have made such ridiculous sacrifices that God should just completely bless everything that we do and make it easy, right? (If there was a sarcastic font – this section would be highlighted and underlined with it).
It’s these types of thought processes that make me realize how wicked my heart is. Despite good intentions, despite trying my best to follow Him, unfortunately I often lose the daily battle that I face. Sadly, He isn’t always enough for me. But He should be. He IS enough, if we trust Him enough to loosen our grip of other things that we secure our happiness with and allow Him to be enough. He IS all that we need. I just pray that God will give me grace to live like He is enough, through good and bad, thick or thin, He is all I need. I am so grateful for His patience and grace with me as I continue to try to grow in this area.
Truth is, I have always had it super easy. I haven’t been tested anywhere near most people, like Job – getting everything stripped from you, or like quite a few that we are close to that have lost a child – I grieve as much as I can with them, but honestly can’t even imagine the kind of pain they have felt. But I’m praying that I can grow in this area, so when life’s disappointments, frustrations, and tragedies come our way, I can truly say, even while experiencing all the frustrations and pain, that yes; God is enough.
The sweet ending to our frustrating bike story: