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January 29, 2016
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January 29, 2016

Column

My Christmas break didn’t go as I planned. Specifically, the first day especially didn’t go as planned.

My sister and I woke up at 6 a.m. on the morning after the last exams so we could get an early start on our 14-hour drive back to Buffalo, New York. The weather was fine for most of the trip until we hit northern West Virginia. After that point, it just didn’t stop snowing.

We were about three hours away from home when it happened. We were in the right lane, going slow because of the almost white-out conditions, and driving with our hazard lights on like almost everyone else on the road.

Suddenly, the car ahead of us in the left lane started fishtailing and spun violently towards us. It was in a matter of seconds, but it felt like we were moving in slow motion as the car smashed into the front driver’s side of our car and pushed us into the guardrail on the side of the highway.

Thankfully my sister and I were okay, but poor, innocent Stella the Toyota Rav4 – who had never hurt anyone or anything other than a shopping cart – was totaled.

Much of the rest of Christmas Break was spent dealing with insurance and finding a new car to replace Stella. I can’t say it was entirely the most pleasant experience, and I wasn’t even the one who handled most of it (thanks, Mom and Dad).

I could complain to you about the inconvenience of having to get rides to work or the hours of phone calls with the insurance company, but instead I want to focus on the many blessings that showed themselves throughout the whole experience.

First, I think the biggest, most obvious blessing is the fact that my sister and I came out of that accident alive. Not only did God protect our lives during the accident, but He protected us to the point that we didn’t have one side effect from it. No concussions. No whiplash. No broken bones. We were able to unbuckle our seat belts and walk away from the car unharmed.

Second, we were able to replace our car with the same exact car that we owned except for the color. Not only were we able to get the same make, model, trim and year, but we got the car the day before we needed to come back to school. God provided exactly what we needed when we needed it.

Third, the accident opened my eyes to the fact that too often we take everything around us for granted.

Whether that’s family, friends, or the blessings we’ve been given, we get too comfortable with going through life set on cruise control.

Not only do we take our daily lives for granted, but we also take our great God for granted. We know He is there when we need Him, and we know that He ultimately controls our lives. But are we putting God on a shelf and pulling Him out only when something goes wrong?

This semester, I’ve made it a goal to be intentional with my interactions with our God. The accident could have been far worse. But instead of saying “thank you, Lord, for your protection,” my first instinct was to complain about the inconvenience of not having a car for a month.

Do we always immediately grumble when something doesn’t go our way?

We will always find problems with our life situations. That’s our nature, and there will always be something to complain about.

Instead, we need to thank God for the many, many blessings He bestows on us each and every day. Thank Him for each morning that you wake up, and thank Him when they have your favorite food in the Dining Common.

But don’t stop there. Thank Him every time you want to complain. Thank Him for the traffic that made you two minutes late to class Monday morning, and thank Him for that 10-page paper that you don’t see the point of writing.

Intentionally look for the blessings in a situation and recognize the One Who gave them to you instead of always being quick to complain about life’s inconveniences.