Monday, December 27, 2010

Flat tires

I went into the garage last night and discovered something.  The right rear tire on the van was completely flat.  In the past 4 months, I've had to deal with patching 2 tires, and now this one makes the third.  Yes, all on the same vehicle.  No, I don't know where I keep getting all these blasted nails from either.  I know I had at least 2 of them in Monticello, and maybe I picked up the third here in Almyra. 

All of them started out the same way: a perfectly good tire ran over a nail. (You wanted something bizarre?)  However, I didn't know it.  The symptoms then appeared: the tire appears to be slightly deflated, and a pressure check shows that it is, in fact, deflating.  So, for some time, I add air to the tire.  Once we moved, I even bought my own car-powered tire inflator to keep adding air. Eventually this routine gets old, and something must be done.  Or what happened yesterday happens.

I aired up this one yesterday in preparation for making the trip to Monroe today.  Then, last night, it was completely flat.  So, I jacked up the van, took the tire off, and started spraying soapy water on it.  Then I found it: a small hole, containing what looks like a nail and puts out little soap bubbles when there's air in the tire.  The slow leak became a fast leak.

Now the tire cannot be used until I get it fixed.  Ann and I discussed replacing all the tires on the van, but the tread depth is still decent on them and apart from the holes, they're in good shape.  It seems like a waste of money to replace tires that only have small holes.  Instead, we'll patch this one too and put it back in service.

Why am I troubling you with my tired old story? 

I was contemplating the idea of tire damage and life stress, that's why.  Sometimes, you run over something with a tire, and the puncture is catastrophic.  You see the damage, the tire goes flat or blows out, and instantly there's a problem.  It's not something you can put off fixing or ignore.

Yet most of our difficulties aren't like that.  Many of our problems are the small nails in the tire that leak out slowly.  We can delay fixing them by pumping ourselves up, but that doesn't fix the problem. Eventually, the need to actually fix the issue comes due.

What slow leaks are compromising your life right now?  If you can't think of any, that's either good or a sign of denial, you'll have to figure out which.  If it's not denial, then use your non-leaky life to be an encouragement to others.  Most of us have leaks somewhere, and we need to get through until they're fixed.

And realize this about yourself, folks: you probably don't need replaced, metaphorically speaking.  All my tire needs is for the nail to be taken out, a little buffing and smoothing inside it, a patch, some heat, and it will be in good shape for quite a few more miles. If there are slow leaks in your life, get them fixed, but don't mark yourself for discard yet, because you're not there.  And if you're dealing with a leaky person, be patient with them, because they're not ready for the recycle bin.

True, we all need to surrender our lives to Christ, and He makes us a new creation. If we need to stretch the analogy, then, let's do so: that's trading out your rims for new, perfectly round, and clean ones. How you live is the tubeless radial around that rim, and it still gets leaky, and will until we step into eternity.

Until then, keep patching that radial, and keep on drivin'



  1. Nothing like a tire to inspire a preacher's fire.

    Good illustration. You got a lot of tread out of that one. Sometimes the pressure of life leaves us feeling deflated. Your readers' spirits wheel be inflated just by reading it. Applying the story to our lives really touches where the rubber meets the road. It's good to come up for air when we have time to spare. Follow the Lord day after day, year after year, and soon it'll be time to, um, retire.

  2. That took a lot of effort, didn't it?

  3. Sadly, not really. Puns come terribly easy to me. Given how much they make people groan, I think it's part of my fallen nature or something.

  4. If puns are coming that easily, it's confirmation of your call to preach.


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