I just dropped off my youngest daughter and her friend at gymnastics. Alone in the car, I exhaled, mentally running down the list of chores waiting for me at home. I was nearing the entrance to my neighborhood when a ruckus from the backseat caused my heart to jump into my throat.
Barking, it was definitely barking. Did a dog hop in the car when I wasn’t looking? Impossible.
I turned to see my daughter’s Christmas gift, Bouncy the Happy Puppy, causing the racket. His bark reverberated around the vehicle. His automated legs kicked one of the kids’ car seats.
What a hullaballoo for such a little toy! One minute I’m driving, alone with my thoughts. The next, my heart is racing and panic courses through my veins.
Life can be like that, can’t it? The unexpected tips your world in an instant. Chaos comes calling when you least expect it.
I just finished reading the Songbird series by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck. It’s a captivating trio of novels, beautifully written.
One of the story lines tells of a brilliant lawyer, Max Benson. Max has it all – stellar career, beautiful wife, comfortable home. He also harbors many secrets…one of which is his addiction to pain pills. When things don’t go his way, he pops pills to cope.
As his secrets surface – an illegitimate son, conceived the week before his wedding with his ex-fiancée – Max’s world begins to crumble. He recognizes his need for help and checks into a rehab center in Texas.
Later in the story, Max recounts what happened in Texas to his wife, Jade.
“My progress was slow…Axel had a crude cross on the property that I could see from my bunk…I’d lie on my side and watch the moon pass over the cross. One night while my stomach was growling, I started praying, ‘Lord, heal me. Fix me. I’m a wretch and a wreck.’ I realized that was the point of the cross. To be free from myself. A man can’t live free if he’s in debt to sin, and I was up to my eyeballs in debt.”
Jade listened, brushing away her tears.
“I started to cry. Just watery eyes at first, then sobs. I buried my face in the pillow to keep from waking the others. I wanted to slip out, but I couldn’t move. I felt like I was lying in a bed of warm oil. The more I wept, the thicker and warmer it became. I swear I heard Jesus say to me, ‘I have things for you to do. Come, follow me.’ Then he poured more oil. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the cross, weeping, soaking in that oily sensation. By morning, I thought it was all a dream. But over the weeks at the Outpost, I knew it was real. No more pains, real or phantom. No craving for meds. Love met me and lifted me out of my sin. I look back at the addicted Maxwell Benson and wonder, ‘Who was that guy?’”
But Max is tested not long after he returns to normal life. His new job as a high school football coach isn’t yielding the results he wants. His wife questions him at every turn.
Take a look at how Max handles the pressure:
Max massaged his fingers into his back. He knew what happened that night in his bunk – God healed him. But for the first time, his faith was being tested. Stress mantled his shoulders. But so far…his back remained strong. His taste for bills, a bitter memory.”
(story excerpt from Love Lifted Me by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck)
That’s how you know change is real: when the divine slices through the uncertain circumstances of life and brings true healing.
So – whether the unexpected comes and goes in an instant – like it did with me and the barking in the backseat – or whether it camps out in your life indefinitely, do what Max did. Give it over to God. Let Him soothe away the pain. Let Him calm the chaos.
Let’s talk: Have you ever been undone in an instant? What caused the commotion? How did you handle it?