It started out easy…too easy. We pulled out of my parents driveway at 6:47 AM — only 17 minutes behind schedule — and I reflected on the last couple of days. There had been no issue with the trailer rental. The weather had cleared up. Our vehicle wasn’t even a drop low on oil. Major trips for the Quasts never go off without a hiccup.
Who could forget the time we found out days before a move that the trailer company didn’t rent trailers to people with our vehicle? Or the time our trailer wheel went flying down that Paraguayan Chaco road? I mean common, I’ve blown a radiator in two countries. We’ve been lost, broke down, and up a creek more times than I can remember.
Which is why I wasn’t too surprised when I heard a loud crash right outside of Florence, South Carolina. I calmly pulled over to the shoulder as our trailer kept crashing and bumping off our rear bumper. I stepped out of the van with the poise of a person who has been in this spot many times before, but I could have never expected what I was about to see.
Instead of seeing a trailer that had simply jumped off the ball, or a tire that had suddenly blown, what I saw was a trailer hitch that had completely sheered off one side of it’s mounting and halfway off the other. Our tow package had simply “fallen off” due to rust. It had fallen off enough so that we could no longer tow our trailer, but not enough to allow me to go anywhere.
What do you do in a situation like this? First I called the trailer company, but they wouldn’t send anyone out since it wasn’t the trailer that broke. I called a company that offers roadside asistance for our vehicle, but they didn’t know what to do since our vehicle didn’t need a tow. Right about that time a man from the State Highway Assistance pulled up. “I’m highway assistance” he said. “I drive up and down the interstate helping people out.” I perked up and said “Wow, I’m glad to see you.” But then he replied “But I don’t help with stuff like this.” He did leave us with some literature though on the highway assistance program. All things considered, since we weren’t going anywhere, some light reading was not a bad idea but I digress.
So there we are on our way to the plane, stranded on the side of the road. Why does God do things like that?
One of the main things we learn from Sunday School is Romans 8:28 “God works all things together for good.” Many of us have laid claim to this verse to see us through some difficult times and perilous situations…but there’s a side to this verse that goes even deeper than what you learned in a typical children’s church.
God works all things together for good, but to those “who are called according to His purpose.” What’s His purpose you may so rightly ask? It’s screaming from the passage to be seen, but you may have missed it. Romans 8:29 says that God is conforming us to the image of His Son. In other words, God is using our circumstances to make us more like Jesus.
Why can all your situations be good? Because it’s a good thing to be conformed to the image of Christ. In fact, for the Christian it is THE good thing that God is doing in us. But so many times we miss the opportunity to have our situations work together to make us more like Christ, because we’re not living called according to that purpose. We’re praying for a way out. We’re accusing God of being mean to us. Sometimes we’re just ignoring that situation completely.
There on the side of road outside of Florence, South Carolina we could say a little prayer, thanking God for His faithfulness to make us more like Jesus Christ…and oh by the way Lord, could you show us our next step!
The other side to this discussion is God’s ways our higher than our ways. Who knows what else He was doing. Perhaps we were spared from an accident down the road. Perhaps it was to teach our kids that God has things in control. Perhaps it was simply to give Him praise for His goodness in the situation — which we did. After all, it was a warm day despite it being January. It was sunny though rain was in the forecast. We broke down during the day, not at night. We were near a place with car rental services, a rare occurance in South Carolina. Our trailer hitch at least stayed partially attached so we could get her safely off the road without a major interstate pileup. There was plenty of evidence of God’s goodness even in our situation.
Long story short, we unloaded the trailer. We loaded our stuff in the van. Rented a car, and transfered all the passengers to the rental. It wasn’t the cheapest way to travel, but we at least were able to make it safely to our destination. Now we have a short wait before our flight that will take us back to Paraguay.
It was an adventure to say the least. Thanks to all who prayed for us. If you were left out of the prayer loop, I’m sorry. Word spread by itself and people lifted us up as they heard…we simply focused on moving forward.