Recognizing God’s Presence Changes Everything
Or Linda and Her Very Bad Day
Linda Evans Shepherd
Would you feel better about your life if you could find blessings
hiding inside your disappointments?
I had some time to contemplate this truth one Saturday afternoon
when I tried to leave a coffee shop. I hopped in my car and placed my automatic
shifter into reverse. But when I pulled out of my space and tried to put my car
into drive, a sudden pop vibrated through the steering column and I was stuck
No matter what I tried, nothing worked. My car was immovable as it
sat blocking the parking lot’s traffic lane.
Rattled and embarrassed by the cars forming a line behind me, I
climbed out of my car and waved them around. When the line cleared, I walked
over and sat down at one of the iron grill tables outside the coffee shop and
called my husband on my cell phone. “I’ll be there in twenty,” he told me.
There I set, staring at my lovely silver car which had so faithfully
served me for the last eleven years. In many ways it was like a time capsule
filled with memories of driving my kids around. It even had pockets still
stuffed with old, abandoned toys that had once belonged to my son, now a
college senior. So with a heavy heart, I sat in my chair, an iced mocha in
front of me, watching the drivers maneuver around my car.
A feeling of God’s presence settled on me and I suddenly noticed the
amazing blue of the August sky and realized that the afternoon breeze felt
refreshingly cool. How blessed, I am
Lord, to have a breakdown in such a safe place. Thank you, I prayed as I
took another sip of my iced mocha and bit into my peanut butter cookie. And look, you even provided refreshments!
Just then, another driver pulled up, a lady in a white suburban. I wasn’t
sure she saw that I was waving at her to pull around so I stood up. When I did,
she lowered her window and leaned over to inquire, “Is there a dead body inside
that car? I’ve been trying to see the driver but I can’t.”
“No,” I called back, smiling. “The only thing that’s dead is the car.”
She drove around and I chuckled, telling the Lord, See Lord, it could have been a lot worse;
there are no dead bodies in my car.
Two women walked out of the coffee shop. “Is that your car?” one of
the women asked.
“Yes,” I said, “It broke down, my hubby’s on the way.”
The other woman said, “I love your attitude, here you sit with your
car broken down, smiling and waving at people, and sipping coffee as if you
were a queen entertaining guests.”
“Just counting my blessings,” I said. “Just think, I could have been
at the airport on my way to catch a plane, or I could have been in the middle
of a busy intersection, but here I am in a safe place enjoying my peanut butter
“And who knows,” the first one said, “you might even get a new car
out of the deal.”
We all laughed at that idea.
Soon my husband pulled into the parking lot and I got to spend the
rest of the afternoon with him on a much needed ‘date.’ Of course the date was
spent directing traffic around my car
and securing a tow truck, but even so, we had a lovely time together. And the
best news is, though I’m not getting a new car, the repair bill for the broken
cable in my steering column was minimal and the cost of the tow was covered
under my AAA plan.
How blessed I am!
I told you this story to say that though we can’t control the things
that happen to us, we can recognize that God is with us and we can watch for
his blessings even in the uninvited happenstances of life.
Perhaps as you read my story about my broken-down car, you thought,
“Ha! Linda thinks she’s blessed in her petty little car crisis. She doesn’t
know what a real crisis is!”
Yes, I hear the pain out there, but let me tell you how I would have
told my car story if I hadn’t realized God’s presence that afternoon.…
Can you believe it? I’d
only left my house for a minute because goodness knows my book deadline was
breathing down my neck. All I needed was a cup of coffee so I could hurry home
and write. And of course, you’d know my car would break down in front of the
coffee shop, blocking the traffic in a parking lot. Can you imagine? All I
wanted was a tiny little cup of coffee and what I got instead was a big hassle.
Not a private hassle, on no, my car had to inconvenience all the other drivers.
How embarrassing! Someone even thought there was a dead body in my car. If they
had called the cops, I would have been the number one murder suspect for the
death of my book deadline.
Anyway, my husband, who
also had a busy afternoon planned, had to drop everything and come babysit me
while we waited for a tow. By the time the ordeal was over, five hours had
passed and I was too tired to write a word. What a wasted day.
Wow, what a negative stream of thoughts, negativity I could have
slipped into if I had let a bad attitude shut God out of my experience. And I
have to tell you, there are days I might have pushed God out of my uninvited
difficulties and chalked the day up as wasted—instead of a day filled with
blessings. So, what made the difference for me? My change of heart began the
moment I recognized God’s presence. Acknowledging his presence made it easier
for me to make a conscious effort to thank him as I counted my blessings.
The above is an excerpt from Linda's wonderful book Experiencing God's Presence
What if every time you had a conversation,
your best friend never got a word in edgewise? Your relationship would be less
than fulfilling –for both of you! In the same way, a fulfilling prayer life is
more than just regularly talking to God. And it’s more than checking items off
a prayer list. God loves us so much that he wants us to draw close enough not
only to talk but also to listen.
Now, from the award-winning author of When
You Don’t Know What to Pray comes a bold and life-transforming book
that will help you nurture a vibrant two-way relationship with God. Linda Evans Shepherd shows you how to
develop a dialogue with God, continually seeking him and seeing him at work in
your life. Steeped in Scripture and filled with personal stories of answered
prayer, this book also includes sample prayers and action steps you can put
into practice immediately.
About the author:
Evans Shepherd is an award-winning author, a
successful speaker, a radio personality. The president of Right to the Heart
Ministries, she is the author of When You Don’t Know What to Pray and
You Need a Miracle and the co-author of the Potluck Club books and the
Potluck Catering Club series. She lives with her family in Colorado.