I didn’t do college right. I commuted six days a week to the University of North Texas from Forney, and we all know how I–635 can get. It was easily a 2–4 hour round trip, depending on traffic, which was always horrific. To make matters worse, I had purchased the cheapest parking pass you could get, so all of the designated parking lots were at least a half-mile walk to class. To make matters even worse, I drove a standard 2001 Ford Ranger that was on its very last leg.
It was Monday, and I was running late to my morning class, so I was going a tad faster than the school speed limit. Fast enough to receive a ticket, anyways. I had to appear in court in Denton on a day that I didn’t need to be in Denton, and any day that I didn’t need to be in Denton was a good day. This was not a good day.
It was Tuesday, and I had arrived at school early to scout out the parking lot, just hoping and praying that someone would leave soon so that I could make it to class on time. Finally, after about 20 minutes of monotonous circling, someone was backing out. I pulled in behind them, put my blinker on, and patiently waited. A few seconds later, a black Jeep pulled around the corner, saw the car that I’d been waiting on backing out, stepped on his gas — you could hear the tires screech — and stole the spot. My face filled with hot anger. My heart hammered in my chest. I could not believe the complete lack of humanity that person displayed in that moment. The audacity. The sheer disregard for rules and civility. I had my blinker on! Plus, I had been circling long enough to get to know all the other cars that were in my same predicament, and this guy had not been searching for a parking spot as long as we had. My blood was boiling. I said and did some not-nice things in that moment, including but not limited to parking behind them in my spot for a solid two minutes, wailing on my horn and not letting up. They didn’t get out of the car until I sped off in fury. Probably a good thing, too.
It was Wednesday, and I received a ticket for parking in the wrong area. Did I realize this at the time? Probably. I tried to appeal it anyways, to no avail. They argued that there were clearly signs everywhere. Whatever.
It was Thursday, and I had one class. We were in the middle of a final project, so I had to carry my huge art bag that held all of my equipment, including a 4’ x 2’ board. The whole thing weighed 50 lbs. Keep in mind that I was 5’2” and about 120 lbs., with zero upper body strength. There was a Jack in the Box just across the street from my building, so I thought, “I’ll only be about an hour. Surely, they won’t mind. They’ll see all the stuff I’m carrying and have pity on me.” I was wrong. Oh, and I forgot to mention my phone had died. So I sulked in to Jack in the Box after class, only to be informed that they had my truck towed since I was not a customer. I borrowed some guy’s phone and called the towing company, begging them to understand my situation. They also had no pity. I looked up the directions, wrote them down on a piece of paper since my GPS had died, and held back the tears. Remember, as a commuter, I did not have anyone I could call for a ride. So I lugged my 50 lb. bag the two miles to the towing place in 100+ degree weather. By the time I got there, I was drenched in sweat, in desperate need of water, too angry to talk or cry, and thoroughly embarrassed. I paid the steep fine and got my truck back. I remember the guy trying to make light of the situation, clearly feeling sorry for me, but obligated to do his job. I didn’t care. I didn’t make eye contact.
Finally, Friday. What could go wrong? How could this week get worse? Then my car broke down. I had not cried up until this point, but this was the last straw. Why does it seem to be one thing after another? I was a college student, working two jobs, going to school full time. I had no friends, no money, and no time for all of this to be happening. I had my truck towed to a couple of different auto places, both of which told me it was going to be about $1,000 to fix the issue. I remember sitting in the single bathroom in the auto shop, just crying and asking God for help. Any kind of help would do. Just a little help was all I asked. I asked him what he was trying to teach me through all of this, because enough was enough. I had learned the lesson, whatever it was. Just make it stop!
Thankfully, I had loving parents who had the car taken back to Forney while they let me borrow their car for the rest of the day. I remember walking to class, physically and mentally exhausted, ready for the week to be over, still lugging around that stupid art bag underneath that hot August sun. I wasn’t necessarily angry with God for allowing these things to happen, nor did I not trust him. I was simply tired and needed him. I remember asking him to affirm his love for me in that moment, because I needed a reminder that he works all things together for good. Then the wind blew.
It was a simple gesture, but a gesture I so desperately needed. I can’t explain the very real presence of God I felt in that moment, and I don’t have the words to describe it. But I know he was in the wind. He was carrying me through the week, he was cooling me off in the hot sun, he was letting me know that he was still there.
I am writing this to remind you that, even though your circumstances may feel alarmingly out of control, like you’ve done everything you can, and things just keep getting worse, even when it doesn’t seem like that’s possible, and it feels like God is distant, he’s in the wind. He’s in the small things. He’s in the smiles of your children, in the steam of your morning coffee, in the warmth of the sun, in the light that fills your home, in the still moments, and in the quiet moments. When was the last time you were still? When was the last time you were quiet? It is hard to hear God when we don’t want to. We just need to be still and know that he is God. (Psalm 46:10). All he asks of us is to, “…humble yourselves…casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you,” (1 Peter 5:7). But the passage doesn’t stop there!
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
— 1 Peter 5:8–10
Hebrews 4:15 says that we do not have a God who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. You are not alone, and you will never be alone if your faith and trust are in the promises of a Father who loves you without conditions and who died for you so that you might live for him. Walk with him in holiness, relying on him as your ever-present help (Psalm 46:1) in time of need.