“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
By the time you read this, I’ll be back from vacation and on my way to work a horse show in Scottsdale, AZ. Mom and I planned a ten day grand adventure to Georgia and North Carolina. We love camping and hiking so pulled our 17 ft travel trailer and booked campsites based solely on instinct and website reviews.
The results were fantastic and it was apparent at our first stop in Georgia that God was leading us on this journey and walking along with us. The weather was fantastic, the camp spot perfect for us and our two dogs, and we were feeling God’s blessings as we hiked in Blue Ridge and enjoyed each other’s company.
The day came for us to move from Georgia to North Carolina and it started out as wonderful as ever. We had already driven a thousand miles from home and had just over 200 miles to our next campsite.
We wove our way through the Great Smoky Mountains, taking in the views, and admiring God’s handiwork. The slow highway met up with I-40 and we were rocketing towards our destination when we were hit with a sudden detour.
The back right tire of our travel trailer had had enough. We felt a thump and quickly pulled over thinking we had a blowout. I guess you could say we did. But it wasn’t as simple as changing a tire, we were prepared for that. No, the wheel had sheared off the studs and was nowhere to be found (top image is an actual picture of our predicament). The tire was down the road slightly, but we have no idea where the actual wheel ended up.
A flat tire we could have fixed, the spare was in the pickup along with the jack and electric impact. But with no studs we wouldn’t be attaching a tire to anything. What were two Oklahoma girls to do on the side of a major interstate in completely foreign territory? Go to Google of course!
We called the nearest tow truck service a mere one and a half miles away and were pleasantly surprised by the exemplary southern hospitality of the wrecker service. Not only did they come out to help us, they searched the area until they found a trailer repair shop that was open and ready to lend a hand. They followed us with flashing lights as we slowly limped our three-wheeled trailer along on the interstate and to the repair shop.
The trailer repair crew were equally as kind and helpful. Thankfully, they had the necessary parts to replace our hub and checked out the rest of the tires for us before we left. As an added bonus, this shop was located right next to a beautiful river. So Mom & I got out our camp chairs and sat with the dogs by the river while we waited.
As we sat by the river, we talked about how we managed to get to that spot. You see, we tend to be fairly self-sufficient people. So before taking the trip we changed the wheel bearings by ourselves. We had both helped my dad with this chore many times, but this was our first time going solo on the project (and cause for much reminiscing and missing him as well).
For those who don’t know, replacing the bearings requires taking the tires & hubs off, replacing the bearings and putting it back together. We thought about having one of our mechanic friends come out to double check our work but decided against it. It all looked fine.
It turns out we missed something. We actually did the hard part just fine, the bearings were in great shape, no problem there. But Mom & I both noticed a slight squeak as we left home in that now infamous back right tire. Thinking the brakes hadn’t released properly, we drove on and checked again a little further down the road, no squeak.
While we don’t know for sure, our best guess is that we didn’t tighten the lug nuts correctly and they came loose. As they loosened the wheel and studs battled each other until the studs gave way and the aluminum wheel made its escape to freedom. We had set ourselves up for a miserable and potentially dangerous vacation mishap.
But God, in His infinite grace didn’t abandon us even though we knew we both felt apprehensive about that tire. He was merciful even though we didn’t think to recheck it when we were in Georgia or anywhere else along the way. He didn’t leave us stranded on the side of the road.
No, instead He allowed our mistake to run its course and lead to an inevitable conclusion. Then He made sure we were on a major highway not on the back roads in the middle of the mountains. He arranged for it to happen close to a towing company full of gracious and compassionate people AND close to a trailer repair shop.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is no coincidence. That is God’s grace and provision caring for His children even in the middle of a mess of their own making. And this leads me to our verse today. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Ultimately, this statement is talking about our eternal salvation. But on a smaller scale and somehow more intimately, it means He doesn’t condemn us for our daily mistakes and oversights. He shows us forgiveness and grace. I need to embrace this more for myself and others.
You see, I’m the one who put the lug nuts on the tires. So really, the whole mess was my fault and I spent a lot of time beating myself up over it. But God shows me so much more grace than I show myself. And I am harder on myself than I am on others. If God doesn’t condemn me, but chooses to show mercy and to protect me even when I am at fault, who am I to do more than learn the lesson, thank God for His abundant blessing, and exult in the presence and protection of my God?
Perhaps you are like me and you take every mistake to heart, especially those with consequences beyond yourself. Listen when God whispers,”It’s ok. I’m not going to hold this against you, I’m simply going to hold you while you take a moment to learn.”
Learn to listen more intently to His voice, even when it is a small whisper. Learn to obey the prompting to take one more small step in the process. Learn to ask for help when your independent spirit says, “I can do this myself.”
Today, let’s all take a moment to release any condemnation we hold for ourselves or others. Let’s turn it over to God and accept the forgiveness He offers, give the forgiveness we’ve been given, and live in the freedom and joy of being His cared for and protected child.
God’s grace should embolden us to chase the next adventure with Him. Without Him, I might be afraid of detours like we experienced on vacation. With Him, the detours are just another part of the adventure.
Follow Jesus to the next adventure!
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I want to follow Jesus! How do I get started?
“This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
1 John 4:13-15
If you are ready to join the family of God, simply believe and ask. You can choose your own words or pray the prayer below. God hears your heart, simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and let the Spirit lead you.
“Father, I want to be yours. Forgive me of my sins. I believe that you sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and thank you for the gift of salvation through Him. I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart and surrender my life to You. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Feel free to spend time just talking to God and sharing your heart with Him. Let Him speak to you and listen as He leads you forward into new life. Welcome to the family.
Need to talk or have questions? Feel free to reach out and contact me.