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Mar 01, 2024 387 Karen Eberts, USA
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Life?! AND to the Full

Life seems too difficult sometimes, but if you hold on and trust, unexpected gifts can surprise you.

“Protect us from all fear and anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” Being a lifelong Catholic, I’d recited this prayer at every Mass. Fear hasn’t been my companion for many years, though there was a time when it was. I’d come to know the “perfect love” described in 1 John 4:18, and was helped to live in the reality of He who conquers fear. I seldom experience anxiety at this point in my life, but one morning I did feel a sense of foreboding. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the cause.

Recently, tripping on a curb resulted in a hard fall, and I was still feeling discomfort in my hip and pelvis. Sharp pains resurfacing every time I lifted my arms reminded me that my shoulders still needed more time to heal. New job stresses and the sudden death of a dear friend’s son added to my angst. The state of our world alone can cause significant distress for anyone who spends much time digesting the headlines. Despite the unknown origin of my unease, I knew how to respond. Closing my eyes, I surrendered the heavy burden I was feeling.

Angels Working Overtime

The next day, while I was driving to a patient’s home, a tropical storm developed unexpectedly. Traffic was heavy, and despite beaming headlights and decreasing speed, visibility was obscured by pounding sheets of rain. Out of nowhere, I felt another vehicle’s impact, pushing my car into the right lane! Surprisingly calm, I steered to the emergency lane, despite a now flattened tire’s drag. A fire rescue vehicle soon pulled up; a paramedic who hopped into my car to avoid the torrential downpour inquired if I was hurt. No…I wasn’t! That seemed highly unlikely since it had only been a few days since the lingering aftereffects of my fall had ceased. I’d prayed for protection that morning before setting out, knowing what the weather predicted. Clearly, the angels had been working overtime; cushioning first my fall, then the slam from this crash.

With my car now in the body shop and insurance covering the repairs, my husband Dan and I packed for our long-planned vacation. Just before we left, I was disheartened to hear that our insurer was almost certainly going to total my car! Only five years old and in pristine condition prior to the crash, its Blue Book value currently was a mere $8,150. That wasn’t good news! We intended to keep this fuel-efficient hybrid as long as it would keep running, even purchasing an extended warranty to ensure our plan. Taking a deep breath, I again acted on what I’ve learned to do in situations beyond my control: I released it to God and asked for His intervention.

Unfailing Prayer

Once in Salt Lake City, we secured our rental car and were soon driving through the beautiful Grand Teton National Park. Pulling into the parking garage of the hotel that evening, I uncharacteristically backed into a narrow spot. While Dan unloaded our luggage, I noticed a screw in one tire. My husband’s concern about the puncture prompted him to call various service centers. Finding none open on Sundays, we decided to take our chances driving. The next morning, we said a prayer and set out, hoping the tire would hold while driving on the narrow mountain roads in and out of Yellowstone. Fortunately, the day was uneventful. Arriving at the Hampton Inn, where Dan had made a reservation months before, our jaws dropped! Right next door was a tire repair shop! Monday morning’s quick service meant we were on the road in less than an hour! It turned out that the tire was leaking, so the repair averted a possible blowout—a blessing since we ended up driving over 1200 miles that week!

My body shop, meanwhile, authorized further investigation for “hidden damages” from the accident. If found, the cost would exceed the car’s value and definitely lead to totaling! Praying daily, I yielded the outcome and waited. Finally, I was informed that the cost of the repairs had come in just under the wire…they would fix my car after all! (A few weeks later, as I went to pick up my refurbished car, I found that the cost had indeed exceeded the Blue Book value, but my prayer was answered too!)

A Spectacular Blessing

Another example of God’s providential care came as we continued on our trek into Yellowstone National Park! The parking lot was jammed when we arrived. We circled aimlessly when suddenly, a spot was available near the front! We hurriedly parked and walked over to find out that the next eruption of the Old Faithful* was expected in ten minutes. With just enough time to get to the viewing area, the geyser exploded! We traced the path of the boardwalk through the various geological formations, springs, and geysers. My outdoors-loving husband busily snapped pictures, one after another! Marveling at the amazing spectacle surrounding us, I glanced at my watch…the next eruption of Old Faithful was expected soon. Sprays burst as expected into the air, this time not obscured by tourists since we were on the back side of the geyser! Feeling grateful, I thanked God for the day’s blessings—first, the tire shop’s perfect location, then the good news from the insurance company about my car, and finally, the amazing spectacle of nature.

Reflecting on God’s active presence, I prayed: “Thank you for loving us, Lord! I know You love every other person on earth just as much, but Dan connects with You so strongly in Creation, would You reveal Yourself to him once more?” Continuing to amble along, my husband’s camera battery died. Sitting while he replaced it, I heard a strange sound. I turned around to see a huge explosion. It was spectacular—the Beehive was twice as high as Old Faithful! Looking into our guidebook, we read that this geyser was one of the best, but so unpredictable that eruptions could occur from anywhere between 8 hours to up to 5 days…but, it was at the moment we were there that it happened! For sure, God was manifesting Himself to my husband just as I’d asked!

Our final stop featured several geysers where a gentleman offered to take our picture. The moment he clicked the shutter, that geyser let loose! We experienced yet another unexpected gift of God’s perfect timing and blessing! As if basking in the beauty of the incredible vistas, waterfalls, mountains, lakes, and rivers wasn’t enough, we also experienced beautiful weather! Despite the prediction of rain every day, we encountered only a few brief showers and lovely temperatures day and night!

I had come full circle from my recent stress and anxiety. Surrender led to an immersion in Jesus’ care as well as in the awesome wonder of our Creator! That prayer I had said so many times at Mass was certainly answered! I had been protected, both from fear and serious injury, while being released from anxiety. Waiting had indeed resulted in joyful hope….the anchor for my soul.

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Karen Eberts

Karen Eberts is a retired Physical Therapist. She is the mother to two young adults and lives with her husband Dan in Largo, Florida

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