“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. II Corinthians 12:9-10
You may see a lot of those scriptures in my blogs because God is pointing to them every week in my journey into this chapter of my life in the outback. I believe they are important, perhaps even critical to all of us who belong to God for our future in the changing world we live in. Life is in turmoil all over the world, everything seems to be getting harder, nothing is like the life we knew even a couple of years ago. We are moving into very hard times and we will need to draw more and more on God’s Grace to get us through the simplest things we encounter day-to-day.
It seems that each time I come to terms with a painful or unpleasant thing in my life something new or several new something’s come along to challenge me. In the last blog I talked about my back pain. That was a tough one but after the truths God showed me on the way home I felt better. The pain was still there, in fact it worsened over the weekend but I kept hearing the scriptures He had brought to my mind.
Monday I worked in the office in town and headed out on Tuesday morning to again meet with the inspectors at the same community. The last six houses that were refurbished hadn’t passed and needed to be re-checked. I couldn’t put the displaced tenants back into their houses until they passed the inspection.
When I arrived the inspectors told me to go to the council office as there was an urgent call from my office in town that I needed to answer. When I called I was informed that I had used the wrong lease forms and I was not to have one more lease signed until I changed it. Also there were all the ones I’d had signed. The boss sounded in a panic mode.
I didn’t see it as the end of the world, embarrassing yes, but not world ending. I had all the information in my laptop and my trusty little printer with me. I assured him I could fix it and left him with the wreck of the Titanic still in his mind. I opened the laptop and checked the files and found that despite his statement that they were all wrong only three out of the twelve I’d done were. Of the six that had been signed only three were wrong and the six still needing signing were fine. None of them had gone beyond my files. I had handed them in on Monday but they were still in the office and hadn’t been sent to Darwin for final signing. Not even close to the Titanic.
I was embarrassed for the whole office to know and angry with myself for missing the mark on the perfection I aim for but things happen. I made up new leases on the right forms and within an hour I had one signed. The next day they were all signed and the tenants weren’t concerned or worried about the whole event. That incident was soon to be overshadowed by something far more disturbing that would happen on Wednesday.
Wednesday morning I headed back to the community where I was to meet another staff member who was going to help me. When he showed up I was in the council office with my laptop and printer doing last-minute paperwork. The plumbers had come from town to clean up the persistent leaks in three of the houses that didn’t pass and I was hoping with two of us working we could get everyone into their house.
As he sat there talking while I was typing up forms he dropped a bomb on me by announcing that he was taking over this community! I was shocked and not happy. I asked him when that decision was made and he said at the meeting on Friday that I had not been able to attend because I was in this community with the inspectors. He further informed me that papers had been handed out showing each remote staff what communities they were responsible for. His list now included one of my communities and further more my name was not on the list.
Why hadn’t the bosses told me? They could have e-mailed the news or better yet told me when I was right there in the office on Monday. According to the job description in the newspaper, the one online, the interview and the notice that I had been accepted and offered the job, I had four communities and now without the courtesy of even telling me one had been handed over to another worker.
I felt disrespected and angry that they would make such an important decision and not even bother to tell me. It didn’t help that the worker who got the community was quite smug about it and seemed to enjoy my discomfort over it. So the whole staff knew I’d lost a community but the boss didn’t find it worthwhile to let me know.
I fretted over it the rest of the day. But my back was better that day. I was able to walk briskly around the community, carry my laptop and files in and out of the council office with little pain and only two spasms all day. Funny how God works in us and for us.
By Thursday I was “over it” as the world says, well nearly. I loaded up the staff member who got my community with a file to take through the community for signing on his way to town and a stack of files to drop off when he got there. It gave me a certain amount of satisfaction.
Meanwhile another day with my back feeling pretty good compared to what I’d had for months. I had to be careful to not make any quick turns or bends and to refrain from lifting weight but it was a vast improvement from over the weekend and constant spasms. I’ve still got a long ways to go but any relief is a blessing.
Friday was a holiday but I decided to take the route through the two communities between my base and town to gather more information. It turned out to be a great idea and I got the last two leases settled and signed. My back was still feeling a little better, life was good.
I stopped at the roadhouse to top off the diesel in my “new” Prado. I had to use a voucher book out there since they didn’t take the fuel card I carried. I looked at the previous purchase to find the info to put on the form and noticed the date when it was last filled, a week before I got it. I was told it had just come in when the office e-mailed me the week before. I flipped through the voucher book only to find that the same person had been putting diesel in the car for a month!
Suddenly things added up all too well. When I had arrived on Monday to pick up my new car I saw another staff in the parking lot and they pointed to a silver-grey Prado and said that was my new car. I had a look and it had a nice bull bar which I’d been lacking on the last vehicle I’d been driving.
When I went in the office I was handed the key and I went out to move things from the old car to the new. When I pushed the button to unlock the silver car it didn’t respond and I heard the beeping at the other end of the lot. I looked at the rego number and no it didn’t match the silver car. I followed the beeping and found a white Prado with no bull bar. Then I found out that another staff that doesn’t even go far out like me had been given the silver car which was the new car that had just come in the week before…the one they had e-mailed me about.
Now, I was out there at the roadhouse looking at the voucher book realizing that new car I was given wasn’t all that new and had been in the stable for a month driven by someone who also didn’t go as far out as me. That whole month I’d been driving the old car with nearly bare rear tires fearing a blow out at any time as I drove over miles of rocky harsh roads. I’d bought a tire inflation tool to hook to my battery to air up the worst tire which had a slow leak. I had to air it up four times on the road or at my house to keep it going. I’d asked for new tires and been told to “make do” because it had high mileage and was going back to the dealers after the replacement came in.
The fuel voucher told the whole story, the truth about the last month. They had knowingly let me risk my life with those bare tires while letting someone else drive the car meant for me. So much for their duty of care they are always talking about. In addition when the next new car came in with the bull bar I need for safety out there in the bush they gave it to someone else who doesn’t need it as they drive local remote.
Combine that with giving one of my communities to someone else and it was just a real bad week. Once again I thought about just quitting. I was so angry at the truth about the car. All I could think about was the weeks of driving those roads hours from anything, nursing two nearly bald back tires, praying God’s protection to keep them from blowing out. Then there were all the months I’d driven without a bull bar in country where anything can jump out in front of you. True the bars don’t stop everything but nobody goes bush without them … but me.
I was so angry I drove down the road infuriated and crying to God about the week. How was I to deal with this kind of insult, lack of concern, disregard, etc., etc.? I should just quit, walk away, tell them to stick it. “My grace is sufficient for everything you will encounter along life’s journey and this is just another trial that you will get through. None of these things are permanent; you pass through them like you drive over the bad patches of road. The road smooths out and you reach your goal. You are here to hold My people in your heart, to help them in any way you can and give them My love. They are the goal, the purpose; they are hurting and in need of what you have to offer. The rest is something My grace will help you move past to reach the goal.”
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. II Corinthians 4: 16-18