Recently I drove alone to visit my daughter, Anna and her husband, Danilo in Oklahoma City. The most I had driven by myself was about 450 miles to NC. I’ve made that trips numerous times to see my family in the past 25 years. Now I would be heading in the opposite direction driving 750 miles. I had only made the trip once before and had a couple of drivers to help me. This would be a solo trip.
I was excited to surprise my daughter on her birthday so the adrenaline was running. I was stocked up on crunchy veggies, fruit, nuts, and plenty of water and juice to help keep me awake. I had plenty of good praise and worship music and sermons to occupy me for the 12 hours too. I was excited!
I am pretty good directionally, but my first challenge came when I knew I needed to head west, but the global positing satellite (GPS) was directing me to take the road heading east. Did I trust the GPS or my instincts? I decided to go with the GPS. As it turned out, after I got passed the unseen curve, I was heading west.
I thought about how this is the way it is with God so many times. God says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” (Isaiah 55:8) When God’s ways aren’t making sense to me, I have a decision to make. Do I go the way that seems logical to me or do I trust Him and obey His word? It’s tough. It’s hard to trust and obey, when my brain and instincts are yelling to do the opposite. But as I’m learning to lean on God and HIs wisdom, I feel more peace, see much better results, and my faith is growing. These are some of my favorite Bible verses.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy body, and strength to thy bones. (Proverbs 3:5-8)
My next obstacle came when I ran over a large piece of plastic. I immediately began to listen for air blowing out of my tires or feel the wheel tug. I started praying, “Oh Lord, PLEASE don’t let me have a flat tire!” When it seemed everything was going to be alright, I stopped at a gas station to check my tires and thankfully they were in good shape.
It was a beautiful sunny day and I was enjoying having half of the trip behind me when…the check engine light came on! Again, my first reaction was to panic. But then I remembered this had happened several months ago while we were traveling to Florida. We had the van checked and the mechanic assured us it was nothing to worry about. When we got home, we had it checked again, and everything was fine. So I talked myself into not worrying about it.
Oklahoma City is a large city and they have toll booths on the turnpikes. I nervously and cautiously drove up to throw the change in the compartment. I counted and recounted the change before I tossed it into the plastic machine. As I drove away, a loud horn went off and a red light flashed. There was no one around for me to ask why that machine was so unhappy with me so I drove away hoping I wouldn’t see a parade of blue lights flashing in my rear view mirror.
I made the trip there and I made the trip back home. Because I’ve driven it twice, I know it will be easier the next time, but it wasn’t without its challenges. I’ve said all this so you’ll understand why I wanted to laugh when someone said, “You sure are brave to make that drive alone.” I wanted to respond, “I’m glad you think so, but I don’t feel brave at all. I’m really a scared chicken!” I just wanted to be with Anna on her birthday. I made the decision to not let my fears keep me from making memories with my daughter on her special day. It’s just that simple. It was a wonderful weekend.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
I had also been concerned about there being a lot of traffic on Labor Day traveling back home. There wasn’t. Most of the things I’ve ever worried about have never happened. God is so patient with me as I’m trying to listen, lean on, and trust Him. One of my goals is in those moments of unexpected distress, that my first reaction will more and more be one of prayer, trust and praise instead of panic. If that is unrealistic, may the time between the panic and the prayer become less and less.
Keep looking up,