Early last December, my wife was running errands with our little girl. She had just parked in front of a strip mall to drop off my dry cleaning, when she glanced in her rear-view mirror and saw an out of control Jeep launching over a curb, headed right for her.

The Jeep plowed into the back of our car, driving it up onto a high curb and into a large stone planter. The driver was suffering from a seizure, and had lost control of his vehicle.

He didn’t even realize what he’d done.

He had come within a few seconds of killing half of my family, and he had no idea.

I’m unbelievably thankful that the accident didn’t happen five seconds later – when my wife would have been out of the car, leaning into the back to get our daughter out of her car seat. Neither of them was hurt at all, and we’re very grateful for that.

That’s why we weren’t very concerned with the damage to our car.

The police officer who responded told me that the man who hit our car had insurance, so it would be fixed, and we could go back to normal. No problem. Life is good.

But it didn’t quite work out that way.

When we called the man’s insurance company, they started giving us the runaround. They claimed they were unable to contact their client, and until they could contact him, they would not pay any claim. They contended that since his medical condition was unknown to them prior to the accident, they considered it an act of God – and that was not covered by his policy.

Excuse me?

At this point, I started to get annoyed.

In my opinion, the only act of God involved in the whole affair was when God put His hand out and protected my wife and baby girl from being killed in a random accident. As far as the physical damage involved, well – that’s what insurance is for!

The idea that the insurance company refused to return our calls made me furious – we had done nothing wrong, and they treated us as though they hoped we’d just get tired of waiting and give up.

We didn’t.

We waited.

We pestered them.

We reluctantly hired a lawyer, who pestered them some more.

We waited some more.

We wanted to give up and just get on with our lives.

I wanted the wrecked car out of my garage, but if I sold it for scrap, the insurance company would never pay.

I was convinced they were going to get away with it, and we were going to have to chalk it up to experience, thank God no one got hurt, and just move on.

Then, yesterday we got a call.

Almost three months after the accident, the insurance company got tired of our lawyer badgering them.

They decided to fix our car.

So today a tow truck came and removed the wreck from my garage. I now have a rental car to drive to work while ours is fixed, and I still have my family intact.

Life is still good.

Sometimes life is unfair, and everything doesn’t roll your way. Sometimes bad things happen, even when you do everything right. Sometimes you have to go through a season of frustration, and it seems unending.

That’s when it pays to be patient.

Setbacks build character – but patience brings it out.

This whole struggle with the insurance company taught me that sometimes you need to stick to your guns, and don’t give up. Do the things you can, as often as you can, until you see a result.

And if, after all your patience, things still don’t roll your way, it’s ok. Your patience will have brought out a greater measure of your character – and that is much more valuable than simply getting what you want.