The traffic hazard lurched on, belching black smoke and wheezing its absolute unwillingness to go any faster than 20 miles per hour.
The driver had no choice but to keep going and hope she could make it home.
Since that journey was going to take a lot longer than usual, she had plenty of time to wail out her complaint to the Lord.
"God, WHY!? Now the car is on the fritz, too? You know I can't afford this, I just can't! They've been cutting my hours down, and the insurance payment is due, and the dryer is going, going, and now this! I thought I was Your child, and You would take care of me. Now I feel like even You have abandoned me: why, why, why?"
No reply, He just listened.
"Do You really care about me? Would You have let these things all happen at once if You did? Where's my knight in shining armor? Where's my unexpected check in the mail? When will things ever get better, Lord? Exactly when?"
She knew she couldn't see well through the waterfall of her tears, but didn't dare pull over and stop. So she plowed on, blinkers flashing, panic growing in the dead of night. Car problems--yet another disaster to throw on the already teetering tower of her worries. At least this night she didn't have to concentrate on staying awake during the 3 a.m. drive home.
The idea that the Lord was somehow not on her side made her heart ache even more. "Lord, I don't want to doubt You, but my back is against the wall. I can't take any more burdens, I really can't."
She took her exit without even thinking about the route, and her lament continued uninterrupted. "I can't soldier on without knowing You are there, that You know all about it, and You care. I'm so alone, I'm so afraid, I can't..."
She pulled the lumbering vehicle to a stop at the curb in the near-silent Los Angeles suburb. She sat behind the wheel sobbing--partly of relief from having arrived home safely, partly from the weight of worry. After a good long cry, she blew her nose, pulled herself together, gathered her things, and stepped from the car.
At the same time as the sound of the closing door hit her ear, the smell hit her nose: night-blooming jasmine. She had noticed it before in these wee hours of the morning, and recalled thinking that it was a lovely aroma, but tonight...
She stood by the car and tilted her head back, dumbfounded by the lush but invisible purple velvet enveloping her. Without thinking, she said out loud, "Lord, I..."
A slight breeze lifted her hair from her face and sent another wave of His glory, in the form of a fragrance, washing over her. It was not so strong as to be cloying, but was full of sweetness, and vibrancy, and beauty--His grace personified.
She laughed out loud, and was barely aware that her books and folders fell to the ground as she flung her arms outward. Thoughts of money and cars and fears slipped away, too, as she drank in His outpouring of love, woven into the very air itself, just waiting for her to breathe it in.
Whirling and twirling, head back, tears streaming, laughter bubbling, she felt the ache lift. "You ARE here, You DO love me, and Your creativity in reaching out to me is amazing!" She kept her voice down, but her simple and honest worship was at maximum volume deep within. "Night-blooming jasmine, night-blooming jasmine, night-blooming love of the Lord!"
How much time passed while she soaked up His presence? 20 minutes? 30? She didn't really know, but knew she was exhausted and had a long day ahead of her. In only a few hours she would awake and begin a new day's struggle with her problems. Before she stepped inside, she took one more deep inhalation of the wondrous reminder. The aroma of the jasmine would dissipate with the rising of the sun, but she knew His love would never fade.
She was surrounded by it, and always would be.
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