Ann Spangler

Ann Spangler is an award-winning writer and speaker.

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

A man walking in a dark tunnel with a light at the endTwo weeks ago I felt like a magnet for trouble. A series of problems with a vacation property I own were conspiring to turn one family’s stay into “the worst family vacation ever.” As a part-time landlady, I enjoy creating memorable vacation experiences for people. This just wasn’t the kind of memorable I had envisioned. I cringed at the thought that the story of their week at my place might enter their family lore as the worst vacation ever. To ease the sting, at the end of their stay I gave them a check for half the rent, thereby turning the most profitable week of summer into a sizable loss for me. Ouch!

Then a problem cropped up with one of my children, and I wasn’t sure how to handle it. Then my elderly mother started having difficulties. Then something happened with my other daughter. On and on it went—a great, rolling tumbleweed of trouble heading my way.

One thing about nonstop trouble is that it can help you put life’s difficulties into proper perspective. Yes, I felt bad that my renters thought they were renting a three-bedroom condo when it was only a two-bedroom condo, and that a previous renter had walked off with the pots and pans, and that the maids forgot to leave the sheets, and that the toilets backed up, and that the plumber was expensive, and that I had to make two sixty-mile round-trips to the property, and that I didn’t get any writing done that week. But at least the sun was shining the whole week and the pool worked and the beach was lovely and nobody died. After a while, you learn how to find a little brightness in the cloudiest of skies.

What troubles are you facing right now? Ask God to help you see at least a little bit of light in the midst of them—not the kind that emanates from an oncoming train, but the kind that comes from perceiving the daylight on the other side of the tunnel.

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