Thursday, September 09, 2010

Sadness, Rejoicing and a Trial

Today I signed over the title of Blondechick's car--yes, the one I was agonizing about buying just a few months ago--to a junkyard.  They gave me $250 for it.  Just enough to pay the tow and storage fees after the accident and have a whole $5 left over.

It was so emotional for me to see the wrecked car, its front end crumpled, the windshield cracked and both airbags limply filling the front seasts. I cried as I gathered her belongings out of its compartments, its back seat, its trunk.  Except for the front end, it was still a really nice car.  I couldn't believe we were junking it.

Our kids are okay.  Fine, in fact.  The airbags did their job, even though that very morning, Blondechick had told me that the airbag light had come on again, like it was when we first bought the car.  At that time, the mechanic told me that if the light was on, the whole airbag system was non-functional.  But praise God, the airbags worked perfectly when Blondechick just couldn't stop in time.

She was not following too closely.  The loooong skid marks told that story.  Nor was she texting or talking on the phone, her passengers agreed.  She was not speeding, at 40 in a 45 zone.  Both boys in the car with her--her brother and his friend--said that the car ahead did not appear to be slowing down.  No brake lights, no signal...and the section of road there sloped slightly downward, perhaps altering distance perception a bit.  At any rate, she couldn't stop quickly enough.

We rejoice that no one was seriously hurt.  The other couple have neck pain, I'm told, but are otherwise unhurt.  All five people involved were taken by ambulance to a nearby trauma center to be checked out--Illinois law for the minors involved--and our auto insurance will cover their medical expenses and car repairs.

But we didn't have collision insurance on the Optima.  For what it cost per year to have collision coverage on a vehicle on which a teen is the primary driver, we figured we could buy another cheap set of wheels with the money we'd saved, if it came to that.  But we didn't plan on it coming to that after three months.

"Why, Mom?" Blondechick asked through her tears.  "Why did God let this happen?  I don't get it.  What good can come from this?  ...What can God possibly be trying to teach me from this?  I've been GOOD!"

I knew what she meant.  If this had happened back during her rebellious days, it would have been so easy to quote Ephesians 6: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you...." 

"See?" we could have said to her, "you need to obey and respect us, that it may go well with you!"

But she's been in a good place for over a year now.  She has been trying hard to please God and to please us.  So, why did God let this happen?

"Honey, the Bible makes it clear that the trials will come.  Not if, but when they come, we have a choice to make, about how we are going to bear up under it.  We can't choose what happens to us, but when bad things happen, then we have a choice about how we will suffer.

"Think about trials greater than this one.  Think of losing a child.  Imagine Bantam5 getting hit by a car.  Would we try to figure out why we deserved that?  Would we look for someone to blame?  Would we blame God, and turn our backs on Him?  Or will we choose faith and trust, that God is bigger than our suffering, than our little vantage point in time, compared to eternity and to His all-knowing kingdom perspective?

The Bible is clear that suffering is something we learn and grow from: 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  (James 1:2-4)  

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.  ...God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  (Hebrews 12:7, 10-11)

And I didn't mention this to her, but:

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.  (Proverbs 16:18)

This is the one that haunts me.  Looking back, I think I was overly confident that going without collision insurance was a good decision.  Yes, we got the car cheap, but by the time we fixed it up, it was quite a nice car, and an investment we probably should have protected better.  There was a certain pride in assuming that we wouldn't need that coverage, and I am regretting it now.

So we're car-shopping again, and this time we are looking at not-so-nice cars, since we don't have another $3500 to put towards one.  And it's sad.  It's humbling.  So much to rejoice in...but it's a trial.


Mrs. Smith said...

Lord have mercy. I am just SO glad that everyone is safe and no one was hurt. Praise you, Lord.

Valerie J McIntyre said...

Hi Jeanne, I just randomly happened to check your blog today. Sorry to hear about the car. Unfortunately you might not have gotten much for the collision insurance. If the airbags deploy the car is totaled and you only get what the Ins company thinks it is worth, which is not exactly generous. I'm glad to hear that K is ok. Maybe the harder think to handle learning how to hang on to God once a person realizes that being good doesn't guarantee a pain-free life. Growing up is tough!

At A Hen's Pace said...

Val, you're so right. I also tried to explain to her about redemption and how God is able to work all things together for good, eventually, even when we can't see it, this side of heaven. If she learns how to hang on to God in the midst of trial, that redeems the situation right there, in my book!

And thanks for the consolation on the car--I'm sure you're right about that too...


Debbie said...

Jeanne, I'm so, so sorry that this happened! I thank God that your kids are physically ok, though (the other family too) and pray that they'll work thru all the emotional, spiritual confusion w/God's help and time. What a hard time to be a parent! Praying for you!!!

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

OH! I'm so glad everyone is okay! I think what you said to her was perfect. Hugs to all of you! xo