When Monsters Come Your Way

by | May 20, 2007 | Circumstances, Provision, Trials, Trust

We were driving through Idaho, the potato capital of the US. Our destination was Grand Teton National Park. (What a name for a park, especially for someone who understands French!) We found ourselves on a rural road surrounded by fields of ripe-looking corn (not potato fields!) When it happened. The sun was shining brightly, and I was taking advantage of the fact that my wife was driving to type a devotional. My kids were reading and playing with the Game Boy, and except for the soft Christian music emitting from our stereo, it was completely quiet. Suddenly my wife began to brake: “Uh oh!” she cried.

Now I had learned two summers ago to dread when those two words came out of her mouth, especially when she is driving, and when I saw her ashen face and the look of horror in her eyes, I completely forgot the story that had been unfolding on my lap.

I quickly looked out onto the road to find the reason for her anxiety, and there, head on, moving at full speed and taking up the entire road, was what I believe is called a “draper” – a piece of farm equipment used to harvest crops. There was absolutely no room on the road for it to pass us and no shoulder for us to pull onto.

“It appeared out of nowhere when I went around that last curve in the road!” cried my wife. “What should I do?”

Now, if you know my wife, you know she doesn’t panic easily; but considering the circumstances, this would be a perfectly normal reaction! “Back away!” I shouted.

My wife quickly threw the van into reverse and headed back up the road we had just covered. We were all quite thankful that our tent trailer was back in Gardiner, just outside of Yellowstone National Park, and not attached to the rear end of our van!

What was wrong with the driver anyway?

Was he asleep?

Probably not, otherwise he would have been in the middle of a corn field.

So why wasn’t he slowing down? Was he sadistically enjoying our discomfort? Was he hoping to add the harvest of one Toyota minivan to his inventory that day?

But it wasn’t really the time to ask “why”. In fact, as we sped backwards up the country highway with the draper rapidly gaining on us, all we could do was pray for a miracle. Just in the nick of time, a small grassy clearing appeared on the side of the road. My wife expertly backed the car off the road, taking us out of harm’s way. “Whew!” she breathed. “That was close!”

I nodded, my chest still tight with suspense. An understatement! “It could have been out of an Alfred Hitchcock’s movie!”

The driver never looked our way as he sped past us, the arm of his machine only missing us by about a meter, and we praised God profusely as we pulled back onto the rural road.

We couldn’t help but wonder what might be beyond the next dip or the next turn, but to our relief, we saw nothing more thrilling than harmless dust devils, and we reached our destination in one piece.

What do you do when monsters come your way?

They will come you know, no doubt about it. And they come in many different forms. Ours was in the shape of a draper this time, but next time it might be my boss giving me a pink slip, or the bank repossessing my house. Monsters can also look like beloved family member committing suicide. They can resemble one of your kids, arrested for doing drugs, or even your spouse filing for a divorce. They can even come in the shape of a church split or a winter storm leaving you without electricity for 10 days (Right, Buffalo?).

So just what do you do?

There are plenty of possibilities. You could run away, leaving your problem unresolved. You would eventually have to face them though, sometimes over and over again. Some people ignore their monsters by becoming workaholics. Still others turn to alcohol or drugs for relief. There are even a few macho types out there who feel they can handle any situation, only to find out that they aren’t all that macho after all.

But none of these methods actually deal with the monster.

One of my close friends had to face a huge monster this week. His wife made her intentions clear that she wanted a divorce. His reaction was quite different from the above scenarios, however. Instead of crumbling into self-pity, becoming filled with rage or revenge, he leaned on His closest friend: Jesus Christ! After praying earnestly, he felt led to write his wife a simple but powerful note:

“Jesus teaches us to measure our lives by losses rather than gains, by sacrifices rather than self-preservation, by time spent for others rather than time lavished upon ourselves, by love poured out rather than love poured in. This is how I have lived my life since I have been alone. I will always want the best for you. If you ever find in your heart that you want to talk about anything, I will be here for you. I will not change what you want to do. All I will do is tell you how much you mean to me. I learned during this trial how to love you unconditional. I do not want to sadden or make anyone unhappy again. That is why I work so hard to help others. I tell my life story to others in troubled marriages. It has helped me as well as others. I truly know how amazing it is when God uses you in ways you never would have thought. I never would have thought I would be pouring my heart out to others to help them trust and believe in God and marriage. I just want to end by saying I am truly sorry. I know that I can not change what has happened. And if I could give up myself to change all of it I would gladly do it for your sake.

God Bless you.”

My friend does not know what will be the outcome of this note, however he knows beyond a doubt that he will be just fine, because God is with him. No matter what the circumstances, he will enjoy the inner peace and true happiness provided by the One he truly trusts in. The road may be rough for him for a while, but he knows he is not alone when facing this monster trial.

Remember God tells us: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:20 NIV); “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7 NIV); “I will put my trust in him.” (Heb 2:13 NIV)

Watch out! Monsters ahead! In what or whom will you put your trust?

Rob Chaffart


When Monsters Come Your Way