|It was a long, tiring flight, and we were glad to be back. We waited curbside at LAX Airport for the handicap Super Shuttle. It never did turn up. Judy hailed a cab and enlisted the reluctant cab driver’s help to throw me into the front seat. We chugged away from the curb and—clunk!—the engine died. After the police jump-started us, we proceeded up the freeway, crawling at twenty-five miles per hour. Rush hour. I eyed the ticker chalking up miles and money.
We pulled up to my driveway. Judy realized to her horror that we didn’t have enough cash for the enormous cab fare. She marched to the front door, turned the key, and—brrrring!—the house alarm went off. She fumbled with the alarm buttons and let me in. I told her I’d be okay while she and the cab driver went to Ralph’s Market to cash a check. After they left—brrrring!—I tripped the motion sensor! My head was pounding but, no, it was the front door and the Calabasas cops. I screamed, “I can’t open the door!” I couldn’t hear their reply: the phone was now ringing. What a mess! But, ah, we slept well that night.
I shouldn’t be surprised at trials like these, especially on the heels of a ministry trip. I’d like to describe no-show shuttles, kaput engines, and tripped alarms as malfunctioning things possessed by the Devil, but in fact they are simply a dead engine and a perfectly working house alarm. It’s part of the territory that comes with serving Jesus.
If we’re going to stand up to make a difference for Christ, we will encounter more hardship—more obstacles, dead batteries, nuisances, administrative hassles, broken copy machines, and inconveniences—much more than the average couch potato. We shouldn’t be surprised. Such difficulty while serving Christ is not necessarily suffering. It’s leadership.
Help me not to be surprised by trials. Rather help me to expect them.