For about 5 minutes today I was completely terrified. I was helpless, and was at the mercy of another persons actions to protect me, but she was freaking out worse than I was!!! I remember thinking “pull it together, if you stay calm it will keep her calm”. It helped some, but it truly was the grace of God that kept us safe. Earlier this evening, my 15 year old daughter Meghan was driving on surface streets for the first time. We were going as a family to a graduation party, and I thought it would be a good opportunity for Meghan to drive in traffic for the first time. She had been practicing in the neighborhood and backroads and has been doing great. The plan was for Scott to follow her to boost her confidence. Being a beginning driver, she would have the safety of Daddy making sure that no one would hit her from behind. The idea worked. She was doing great. Turn signals, complete stops, not following too close, changing lanes. She did ride the white line quite a bit, but she said it was better to stay away from all of the cars that were speeding in the left lane. (They weren’t speeding, they were doing the speed limit.) So, all was good. The house we were going to is about a half hour away, and for 25 minutes there were no major problems with her driving. Then, the worst possible thing imaginable happened … someone cut between her and her Daddy. She immediately started to cry and hyperventilate. I was talking her though it at first. “You’re doing great sweetie. Don’t worry about that car, they are keeping their distance. You have driven all the way so far with no problems, you’ve got this.” My words of encouragement were as useful as an inflatable dartboard.
We were approaching a left turn at a busy intersection. She had to get over to the left, so I talked her through it. “Put on your turn signal but stay in your lane until I tell you to go.” I looked for the safest opportunity to get over. There it was – a truck had slowed down to let us over. I told Meg to go, and she did. As she did, she was hitting the brake, and in the middle of both lanes with traffic she came to a complete stop. I suppose I’m exaggerating, it wasn’t a complete stop, she just slowed down to 5 mph. That whole time the words to the song “Jesus Take The Wheel” were playing in my head, not for entertainment but as a desperate prayer. Thankfully, we did reach our destination, and she did great at parking on the street. And I did great by not yelling at her … not even once.
I’ve been thinking about that protective bubble that she was in knowing that her Daddy would protect her from behind. Just knowing that he was there and was her shield was all she needed to have the confidence to move forward. It’s kind of like how we are with our relationship with God. As long as we are aware of his presence in our lives and that he is our shield, we move boldly down the path, confident of victory. But when we lose sight of him, we panic. And when changing course, we come to almost a complete stop in fear.
I really needed that experience with my daughter to be able to see where I am right now. For some reason, I don’t see God close by. I know that He’s there, but it feels like I’m exposed. Decisions about what course to take need to be made, but I’m too scared to commit to one without knowing that it’s were God would have me go. I guess I have started to “freak” out and second guess myself. It really comes down to how much trust I have that God is God. I don’t know where the path is leading; and although I never really do; this path seems more uncertain.
The choices we make will always have consequences. Too often decisions are hastily made in a moment of fear, arrogance or stubbornness. Every time I make decisions based on those emotions I regret them. On the flip-side, I have never regretted the decisions that I have made with prayerful consideration. I need to remember that even if God isn’t in my rearview mirror, I can trust that He has gone ahead of me to prepare the way.
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” – Proberbs 3:1-6
I have faced many obstacles in my life. I have made good decisions, and I have made not so good ones. I have had success and failure, pride and shame, happiness and devestation. Some I have caused though my own actions, and some have happened to me through no fault of my own. Regardless of any of that, I have never been beyond the compassion of my God to give my unearned redemption. I am no longer my own, I am His.