How to Make the Best Out of Potholes


Those pesky potholes! You’re driving along minding your own business and wham! The jolt is enough to shake you out of your seat. You look behind you through the car’s rear-view mirror and there is the culprit: a hole in the road so deep that you felt like you just hit the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The first thing you think about is the condition of your tire, and your alignment, and the possibility that now you’re going to have to go to your mechanic and get it checked it out.

Potholes, a.k.a. kettles and chuckholes, can be a pain during any season of the year but especially after a cold winter. Water which has penetrated cracks in the road freezes in low temperatures and expands the pavement. At the same time, rainy or cold weather conditions added with weight from vehicles put constant stress on the pavement. More and more, pieces of the pavement fall off and voilà–a pothole is born!

As the red, yellow, golden leaves are already falling like rain where I live, and the chilling wind roars in from the north, and the temperature flirts closely with the freezing mark, I am reminded once again that there’s going to be more potholes in the future just waiting to devour someone’s vehicle down the road. Some of those holes will stay small, others will grow big and deep enough to not only cause damage to our vehicles but accidents, too. Sometimes we hear of drivers swerving to miss a pothole and then ending up either stuck in the ditch or crashing into something or, even worse, hitting some pedestrian along the road.

I hope we don’t have the kind of problems with potholes like they are in Britain right now. I was just reading about an “epidemic” of 200,000 potholes on UK roads, amounting to be almost one for every mile of road. Due to the poor road surfaces, compensation claims from car damage have reportedly risen to a whopping 79% in the past 12 months with the average repair costing £140 ($236.20 CA). Most of the claims were said to be for wheel rims getting ruined, punctured tires, and suspension damaged.

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Potholes are like tooth cavities that need filling but all too often get woefully ignored until they become too much of a pain to bear. A lot of tax-paying citizens often complain to their city councils about the problem only to be given umpteen different reasons for the delay. Meanwhile, roads decay more and more as motorists cry out for some kind of relief.

Then, there are those who decide to take some sort of positive action. If they can’t fix the problem, they just make the best of it. So, some have chosen to make potholes a matter of art, turning those ugly eye sores into objects of beauty, and to the point where you would not even recognize them as potholes anymore.

The other day as I was sitting in a waiting room, I happened to pick up an old Reader’s Digest, dated May 2011, titled, “Four Ways of Looking at Potholes,” by Lisa Pigeon (Canadian Edition). I was fascinated with some creative ways potholes were transformed from a picture of disdain to delight as depicted by professional pothole photographers Claudia Ficca and Davide Luciano. (Yes, you read right! Talking about making the best out of potholes: After hitting a canyon-sized pothole amounting to a sizable car-repair bill onetime, they go around the world staging creative photo shoots of potholes such as the ones in the article.)

For example, some women decided to have a pothole dance party while clad in party attire: They cleverly turned the gaping hole on a Toronto street into a cooler, overflowing it with ice chips planted with champagne bottles along with a tray of empty glasses nearby waiting to be filled. On the streets of Montreal, a novice gardener was photographed turning a few concrete craters into a pretty “pit garden” full of colourful blooms. Then, there was one daring person who turned a pothole into a pasta bowl on a street in New York City just minutes before a policeman came along to investigate what was going on. What the cop just missed was Paolo Luciano wearing a bib with fork in hand scooping up a pothole brimming with spaghetti and meatballs for a photo shoot he was making. Luciano, who didn’t have a permit, managed to get away before the policeman could haul him to the pokey. Lastly, in sunny Los Angeles, Oscar the Condo Dog–a pint-sized Yorkshire terrier–was treated with a bath in a pothole one hot day while photographed for his “doggie lifestyle” blog.
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pothole with a flower_jpg

Admiring the creativity put into these potholes led me to draw an analogy between the potholes of life and how we deal with them. Sometimes on the road of life those stressful conditions brought on by the wear and tear of daily disappoints and despair grind us down. Bit by bit a chasm between rationality and irrationality forms a hole so deep and wide that it is big enough to stumble over and, yes, to even wreck our lives. While it’s easy to complain and wish that someone would fill in that void, maybe we could take a cue from those who’ve decided to make something better out of those potholes. It’s kind of like the proverbial saying that if life hands you a lemon, then make lemonade out of it.

Life’s potholes consist of those circumstances we find ourselves in that can really give us a sudden jolt at times. Bad experiences that lead to disappointment, depression, and doubt can leave us feeling like we’ve really hit bottom. We might have made some mistakes, or committed sins that have led to those experiences and not even been aware of it at that time.  Most of the time, we don’t even see how we’ve created these asphalt craters until we’ve already landed in them. By then, it’s too late; we’ve suffered the damage. And even if we do see them coming and try to swerve away from them, we can get ourselves into a bigger problem and, in the process, others can also be damaged.

So what do we do when we’ve come upon one of those dreaded potholes? For one thing, we can appreciate what there is to learn from them, as it’s been said:

Sometimes you have to ride over the bumps in the road to avoid running off a cliff. Other times you may have to fall into the potholes to avoid hitting the trees. Some days you have to experience the wrong turns, to recognize the right ones. There is no better navigation system than bad experiences in life so that we can recalculate our lives through better choices to reach our intended destination. (Eugene Nathaniel Butler)

Kingdom seekers treat potholes with a creative flare for making better choices in life. Our intended destination (God’s Kingdom) presents us with an opportunity to make the best of those potholes by remembering this acronym that spells TRUST:

Turn to God in prayer:

Philippians 4:5-6 “The Lord is near, Do not be anxious in anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Psalm 34:17-18 “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Romans 5:3-4 “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope.”

Rely totally on his grace:

2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Jeremiah 31:2-3 “Thus saith the Lord, ‘The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.’ The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, ‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.’”

Utilize the principles of his Word:

Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Romans 15:4 “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

Seek his wisdom and power:

Job 12:13 “With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.”
Proverbs 2:6 “For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”
James 3:17-18 “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”

Treasure the richness of God’s spiritual blessings in spite of everything else:

Romans 11:33 “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”
Colossians 2:2 “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.”
1 Timothy 6:17-19 “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;  that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;  laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

Good News to you!
Pastor Michael

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