“The things you take for granted, someone else is praying for.”
by Jamie Steinhart
Having a large family these days is expensive, very expensive. Consequently, there are things we have learned to do without, like air conditioned cars. We have lived so tightly on a budget for so many years that we don’t usually think too much about driving old beat-up cars. As long as they get us from one place to another, we keep on driving until the engines finally give out. But every so often, on a particularly hot day, I feel sorry for myself. Yesterday was one of those days.
The local weather guy said it would be a hot one with temperatures nearing 100 degrees with a heat index much above that. No big deal. I knew it was coming–a long, hot and sweaty car ride for the 45-minute drive in traffic. As I was sitting at a stoplight, the air in the car could not have been more stifling, and the drops of sweat down my back could no longer be considered drops. At this moment, I couldn’t stop from throwing a pity party for myself. I looked around at other cars with their windows rolled up and their passengers looking cool and comfortable, and wished that I could be them. I thought to myself, “Seriously? We can’t even afford a car with air conditioning? What is wrong with us?” But God, in all of His wisdom, always has a way of gently reminding me about perspective.
Sitting just within my peripheral vision was a young girl, probably no older than 30, in an electric wheelchair at the light. And attached to the back bars of her chair was a faded backpack with a 99.1 Joy FM sticker, advertising to the world that she was a person of faith who listened to our local Christian radio station. Here I was complaining to myself about a hot car when this young girl was in the same heat confined to a wheelchair. She had no roof over her head to offer relief from the brutal sun. And wherever she was going would surely take longer to get there sitting in her chair. And while I cannot speak for her, nor imagine what captures her heart’s desire, my guess is that she might look at those around her driving cars, air conditioned or not, and wish that she could be one of us. That all of the things the rest of us take for granted, like running into a grocery store for just a few items, or easily getting in and out of bed each day, or standing at the stove heating up dinner would never be possible for her. Maybe those were the things she prayed for at night, the simple things the rest of us complain about.
It’s easy to get caught up in our own circumstances. I guess it’s normal that I would be irritable about sweltering in a hot car on a 98-degree day. But it always seems, for me at least, that whenever I’m throwing myself one of these “poor me” parties, God gently reminds me there is always someone who has it worse than I do. I have my legs, I have my health, I have a car that gets me to and from a job I love. I am blessed.