Several years ago my entire family took a weekend to visit to Michigan to visit family. Picture a caravan of vehicles each representing different families, my parents and each of my two brother's families, four cars in all. We had a great weekend of seeing family and sight-seeing but on the way home, a mini disaster struck. Just as we were merging onto I-75 for the straight shot back home, the front driver’s side tire of the van we were driving blew.
If you've ever had this type of experience, you know that moment of terror that strikes you. I didn’t know if a bomb had gone off or if my engine had just blown up, I didn’t know what happened. Almost immediately the car lunges to the side, and I realize, we blew a tire.
A blown tire at 60 or 65 mph has the potential to turn bad in a quick way. Blown tires can quickly lead to some serious situations. But I got to thinking, even in the midst of the bad, there's a glaring positive with a blown tire and that is, you always know when a tire’s blown.
There’s never any question. You’re never driving down the road, hear an explosion, as the car lunges off to one side, followed by the unmistakeable, "thump, thump, thump, thump" and wonder, "I wonder what that was?" You never mistake a blown tire for being out of windshield wiper fluid. You never mistake a blown tire for a busted tail light. You always know when you’ve blown a tire.
I mean think about a blown tire as compared to a slow leaky tire. Just recently Sarah and I had a slow leak in one of our car tires. This thing absolutely sucked the life right out of me. There would be days, even weeks where this thing would be totally fine. I’d pump it up and nothing, no problems at all. It would only leak, and this is not an exageration, on the days that I was in a hurry or it was super cold out. That’s it, it would be totally fine otherwise.
If you think about it, slow leaks are always harder to catch. They're harder to catch, they're more difficult to perceive because they happen so slowly. As I think about the ups and downs of my spiritual life, I realize it’s a lot like my driving record. I kind of feel like I’ve never totaled my life. I’m certainly not perfect but just like I’ve been a pretty good driver, I’ve been a pretty good, “spiritual driver”. I mean I’ve certainly hit my fair share of “mailboxes”. I’ve had more than a few “fender benders” spiritually speaking, but I can honestly say, “I think I’ve done okay.” I’ve managed through the grace and forgiveness of God to at least keep the car of my life on the road.
I often wonder if at times I’m too focused on avoiding the major accidents, I wonder if I’m too focused on avoiding the major blow outs that I miss all of the slow leaks. Slow leaks are always harder to catch and I sometimes think that I’m missing some.
Think about your own life...
Maybe it’s the occasional secret sin that’s developed into more of a lifestyle.
Maybe it's the increasing lack of patience with your spouse or kids.
Maybe it's the compromising stances that you've taken at work or at school.
These aren’t blowouts, this is just the reality of our busy lives.
These aren’t blowouts, this is just you and I trying to pay the bills or get a passing grade in that class.
These aren’t blowouts, this is just you and I trying to make it through a day without strangling one of our kids or screaming at our spouse.
These aren’t blowouts, these are slow leaks.
And slow leaks are always harder to catch.