Guest Blog: Speaking of Flat Tires…

February 23, 2015

Mark Boughner, New Lifer and author of Life in Khaos, had a rough morning recently. Turns out we can all learn from it.


The truck was packed and I was anxious to hit the road early morning. I had planned this trip for several weeks and I was filled with anticipation. The drive to Ohio is lengthy and in winter you never know where you may be greeted with inclement weather. Both as a precaution and practice, I recited these words after starting the engine and before putting the truck in gear, “God, keep the speed traps few, far between and merciful (don’t judge). Keep me safe on the road and my tires inflated. Amen.”

flat-tireIt was a frigid morning as the temperatures were in the teens. An early morning start would get me in southwest Ohio before dark. Things were going as well as they could be for the first 10 minutes of the ride until I heard a loud “POP” coming from the passenger side rear. The tire pressure gauge lit up immediately on my dash and the wobbling sound made it clear my plans would be changed. After pulling to the shoulder on rt. 66, the words that came from my mouth were a bit more “colorful” than the prayers just recently spoken. It put James 3:11 in perspective, “Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?” (NLT) In my case, apparently so…

In our men’s group lately we’ve been talking about adversity and how it exposes some things about us: fear, a questioning of our competencies, anger, rushed judgment, feeling abandoned. These trying times can also grow our walk and connection to Jesus in addition to strengthening our character. Romans 5 3-5 “…but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (ESV)

Perhaps you can relate. On occasion, I’ve experienced intense nightmares while sleeping. In the morning, there was a feeling of relief, although with an elevated heart rate and sweaty brow, because it proved to be only a bad dream. Sadly, and in contrast, there were mornings where the bad dreams were not derived from my imagination, but an actual reality. In these times, we are left to respond to a situation that we really don’t want to deal with. It is times like these that can cause even a strong believer to become agnostic in their faith. Haven’t we prayed against such adversity?!

I’m not a stats guy, but I know the odds of someone reading these words who has dealt with some level of adversity is high. Perhaps it was a small disruption in your life or worse: a tragic phone call, an unwanted diagnosis, a spouse’s confession, or financial crisis. To you I say, there is hope. There is always hope! I’m reminded by the words of Mr. (Fred) Rogers, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” Proverbs 17:17 similarly puts it like this, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (ESV)

VDOT's Safety Service Patroller Michael Musgrove at work in Fairfax CountyFortunately for me, within five minutes of pulling over a VDOT truck pulled up behind me. A young man, Kyle, stepped out and said he was there to help. I immediately confessed that I had not changed a tire in years, had no idea where the tools were, and was uncertain if my spare had air. Kyle and I figured it out and I was back on the road in 45 minutes. Kyle mentioned that mine was the third disabled vehicle he had assisted that morning, but mine was the most fun! Look for the helpers and when given the opportunity, be a helper.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (ESV) We have an ultimate helper in Jesus!

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