OPINION: One of those days

You ever have one of those days?

A while back I did. Now, usually, life will throw us one crisis at a time, well spaced out. But occasionally we find ourselves in a series of difficulties that all come at the same time.

It started on a cold, snowy Friday morning. Storms had blown through the area the previous night and knocked out the power of hundreds of rural electric customers. And we were among that unfortunate crowd. I went out to start my truck, when the key literally fell apart in my hand. The key is of a special design that "talks" to the ignition system of the truck, so, since it was the only one I had, it became necessary to go into town to get a new one. The truck refused to start without it.

My wife and I hopped in her car and went to an auto supply store. "Sorry," the laconic guy behind the counter said. "We can't help you with that." So we went to another auto supply store across the road. "Sorry," said the slightly more helpful guy behind the counter. "We're not equipped to deal with that. You're gonna need to go to a dealer."

Off to the dealer we went. "Sorry," said the sleepy guy behind the counter. "Not really sure what we can do. But if you bring your truck in we'll try to figure it out." I wanted to tell the guy that my truck was a really heavy paperweight at the time. But I was triple miffed at that moment, so I just walked out.

My wife could tell I was about to lose it, so she suggested we go to Lowe's. (She loves Lowe's, and often ascribes miraculous abilities to its associates.) So we went to Lowe's.

I sheepishly approached the associate who specialized in keys. "I don't know if you can help me, but can you duplicate this vehicle key?"

"Sure!" he said.

Zip. Zam. Bam. We were out of there in 10 minutes with a vehicle key that two auto parts stores and a dealership couldn't duplicate. (And my wife was proven right -- again.)

Back to the house. We were out of power, so I fired up a generator to keep our freezers operational. It worked for a while, and then, for some reason, it stopped generating electricity. I got my laptop out and started investigating what the problem was, and discovered, to my annoyance, that to operate a generator you apparently need to be a small engine repair specialist and a licensed electrician.

Fortunately, the power came on a few hours later. And a few minutes after that, the refrigerator stopped working. Back to the laptop, to find out how to fix the problem, but nothing we tried worked. Upon further review, we discovered that the Consumer Products Safety Commission had fielded thousands of complaints from owners of the same make and model of refrigerator. What a surprise. And the hits just keep on coming.

And that's okay.

Now, folks who know me will tell you I'm a "glass half empty" kind of guy, and that's true. But I can tell you as well that there has never been a time in my life when Providence hasn't taken care of me. He did that Friday, He does today, and He will tomorrow. He doesn't always take my problems away -- I still own a useless generator and had to get rid of a refrigerator that wasn't "cool" -- but He helps me deal with them, if I listen to His still, small voice. (And the voice of my wife.)

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus." – Philippians 4:6-7 (TLB)

Doug Chastain is a retired teacher and large-vehicle transportation specialist for the Siloam Springs School District. (OK, he drives a bus.) He is also a grass maintenance technician at Camp Siloam. (Yeah, he mows the lawn.) You can contact him at [email protected].