“Far be it from me to not believe, even when my eyes can’t see — this mountain that’s in front of me will be thrown into the midst of the sea. So let go, my soul, and trust in Him — the waves and wind still know His name.” (Bethel Music, It is Well)

“Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God. … God cares, cares right down to the last detail.” (James 5:11 MSG, partial)

I’ve got some free time to write this afternoon, because I’m sitting at a McDonald’s in a small Georgia town I didn’t know existed, waving lazy flies away and waiting for a ride to deliver me back to Atlanta.

A few hours ago, I was careening down to Georgia in my pea-green Subaru Outback (which, in retrospect, was beautiful and wonderful and should have been pampered and appreciated). Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, said Subaru started emitting an oh-god-what-is-that chunking sound, flashed every warning light possible on the dash, and swiftly, agreeably guided me to an all-out stop on the shoulder of I-85.

One sweltering wait, two truck rides, and one whistle-stop McDonald’s later, I’m still not sure what’s wrong with my car…but the driver of the aforementioned tow truck mumbled extensively under his breath about shot transmissions, so I’ve got a quaking, healthy fear about what happens next.

Prior to that, this was the kind of weekend that made it uncommonly easy to recognize and roll and revel in God’s goodness. I spent two days in beautiful western North Carolina with my best friend, having long indulgent talks over vegan food and walking the streets of Asheville, which are blissfully clogged, this time of year, with cheerful pedestrians and dusty bookstores and leaves that are absolutely incandescent.

I believe God wants to hear our praise when we’re riding down twisting mountain roads and eating pumpkin ice cream and drinking blueberry punch. But the real time for praise, my heart can’t seem to stop believing, is when you’re sitting by the side of the road soaked in sweat, calling friends and Googling bus passes.

God’s goodness shows up as I’m wiping sweat and dirt out of my eyes, wondering if the car is totally shot and if I need a new one and, if so, what sky that money’s going to fall from.

It also shows up when I look toward the immediate future and my stomach twists, when I make the mistake of Googling “radiation symptoms,” when I convince myself I can feel black tumor creeping back into my brain, ready to be discovered at my January scan.

God is in this stuff. He’s of it, not outside of it.

God, may I be flooded with gratitude for dirty roadsides and creaking cars and MRIs, and may I see the grace in every moment.