My daughter is the only person I know that enjoys hitting potholes. Buckled in her car seat, she holds her hands high in the air as if she were on a roller coaster and giggles, “More, Momma…more…go faster!” As adults, we dodge potholes thinking about the damage to our car’s suspension. Yet as I ponder the topic of potholes, they challenge me. Though we hear nothing of potholes in the Bible, we do hear plenty about valleys. These valleys are often associated with trials and death. Since we have no mountains here in the Midwest, I can’t associate much with valleys. But potholes? We have plenty of those. They’re little valleys in the road.

One of my favorite passages is Psalm 23:4 written by the shepherd-turned-king David. He knew: “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” God is better at comforting us than any brand of shock absorbers. When we hit the rough spots, God is with us, assuring us: “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) In this verse Jesus actually forewarns us that we will have many trials and sorrows. Even still, sometimes when I hit these trials, like a pothole in the road, I am stunned and jarred.

So though God doesn’t promise to remove the potholes or trials, He does promise to give us the strength needed to face them head-on.  Before Christ was betrayed by his close friend, Judas Iscariot, He faced a huge valley head-on. In Luke 22:42 we can read Christ’s prayer to His Father: “Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?” At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him.  Only in St. Luke’s gospel do we learn of this ministering angel. I am not surprised as St. Luke was Dr. Luke first. As a physician, he was trained to notice details. No doubt Dr. Luke had been a ministering angel himself to his patients who were in pain.

While we know that the cup of suffering and the crucifixion was not removed from Jesus, thanks to Dr. Luke we know that God provided His Son with an angel, strength to complete His mission, and ultimately victory over death. Yes, there will be days we hit potholes. At those times, might we follow Christ’s example and pray that our Father’s will be done?  We’re promised God will bring good out of the bad that we experience. (Roman 8:28) And we know that He’ll provide strength to make it through life’s trials. (Philippians 4:13)

What I learned from potholes

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