Last week I had a flat tire while driving home on the tollway. I was in the left lane (with no shoulder) when the dreadful "beep" went off on my dash, alerting me to the fact that I had low tire pressure. Knowing this was probably not good news, I began making my way over to the right. By the time I made it to the right shoulder, my poor driver side rear tire was as flat as flat can be. I was about 10 minutes from home, and my husband had to leave for work in an hour and a half. As soon as I ended my call with him, my previously sleeping 10-month-old decided it was a good time to wake up. On top of that, the traffic was backing up at record speed, which would make it even more difficult for my husband to get to us. Thankfully, the Illinois Tollway has a fantastic roadside service that includes coming to change a flat tire. In the end, I made it off the expressway and home without any other incident.
My reason for sharing this story is that it got me thinking once again about "the little things". There were some details I Ieft out of my above story: I was in the left lane, yes, but it was amazing that at the moment the beep went off, the traffic in three lanes was completely clear, giving me the easiest route ever to the shoulder. I mentioned the traffic, but I didn't mention that it started backing up almost the moment I came to a stop, not before. My 10-month-old woke up, yes, but was very content as I held him in the back and we watched the helpful roadside assistance man change our tire and get us on our way. I also just happened to stop about a half mile from the exit I needed so that merging back into traffic on a questionable looking spare was easy as can be. The whole "awful" ordeal took maybe just over thirty minutes. My husband even made it to work on time!
Those "little things" were not just luck. They were the hand of God being displayed in my life. It wasn't just coincidence that I had a perfect opening across all those lanes of traffic. It started me thinking about how easy it is for us to recognize God's hand for the "big things" - terrible accidents we are blessed to walk away from, beating cancer or some other disease, the birth of a child, job offers, etc. It's easy to see God's hand and to be thankful in those moments...and it's right for us to do so. Our God is a God of miracles and great power, a truly awesome God capable of awesome deeds. Yet, it is equally good for us to become more aware of God's presence in smaller things, on days when nothing we would consider "exciting" might be happening.
My flat tire incident was "big" enough to make me see God's protection, but "small" enough that if I didn't stop to think it through, I wouldn't have seen the multiple ways God had been protecting me. I'm afraid that too often the busyness of our fast-paced lives keeps us from realizing all the little moments of grace that God sends our way each day. The reality is that every time we get in the car and successfully travel to any destination, God has graced us with safe travel. Yet how often do we stop and praise God for getting us safely to and from the grocery store? How often do we thank God that we're healthy or that once again we've ended the day without injury? For some of us, it's become a norm that we take for granted.
Yes, we're good with the big things. We easily thank God for those grand moments of His power and grace, and when the difficult things in our life loom large, it's easier for us to see how much we need Him. None of that is wrong, nor should it stop. He is worthy of praise for the big, and He is a faithful Father through the large, looming trials as well. But, let's not forget the small. Don't save your thanks only for those big, special moments that spread themselves out over the course of your life. And don't think that your faith in His plan is only for the darkest moments of your life either. He is your God every day. On the painful day, the happy day, the boring day, the special day, the frustrating day, the best day. Trust Him through the big and small, and thank Him for the big and small. Nothing about our lives "just happens". Whether a reason to rejoice or mourn, whether big or small, all things come to us from His fatherly hand. And they are all serving a purpose. John Piper reminds us that "in every situation and circumstance of your life, God is always doing a thousand things that you cannot see and you do not know." That covers the big - and the little - things. Thank God!