The other day I had to get my car inspected, it’s a requirement here in Texas, it has to be done every year. I’ve had my car for a little over a year and it’s very rare that anyone else is driving it, so it’s set up my way. When the inspection was completed I got back in my car, moved the seat back into it’s proper place, and resumed my life, happy for my windshield sticker that said my car was in compliance for another year.
On the first Friday night of every month there is a worship service at the church I’ve been attending. I like to go when I can, it’s better than staying home alone and flipping through the channels. The church that I go to is 20 miles away, straight down one of the busiest interstates in Fort Worth. So last night after dinner I went to church. Of course while I had been in the church service it got dark – it usually does that at night.
I hopped into my car and drove home. I was tired from a full day, and I was noting to myself on my drive home that I was tense as I navigated around the other cars and the semi-trucks. It’s like that here; driving isn’t as fun and relaxing as it’s been everywhere else that I’ve lived (i.e. small towns). I recall wondering if I’ll always be tense driving in the dark on busy interstates. As I went to pass a semi truck, the car behind me switched lanes at the same time, we had a safe space between us, so I wasn’t concerned. He flashed his lights at me (why do I assume it was a “he?”), and I thought, “well that’s rude, I wasn’t doing anything wrong,” and I resumed my journey home, passing a few more big semi trucks, going through construction, and noticing way more cars on the road than should be at 9pm, all of them being kind of pushy.
As I turned onto my street, only a block away from home, I looked at my dashboard and realized that my headlights were off! I have a setting on this car where they turn on automatically, so I’ve lost the habit of getting in my car and turning on the headlights. In one of my previous towns of residence I would have known this immediately because you need your headlights to see where you are going, or to see the deer waiting to jump out in front of your car. Here, all the roads are well lit, I never noticed that I was travelling 20 miles of interstate, in a navy blue car, virtually invisible to the other vehicles around me.
My heart dropped as I made my discovery. I realized that the setting was changed when my car was inspected the other day. Note to self: always check my headlight setting after my car has been in the shop. I walked into my apartment so thankful for God’s protection of me, as my different driving scenarios passed through my mind. That rude guy, flashing his lights at me – he was telling me to turn on my headlights, the only way that a person can at 60mph. The reason that I felt that semi-truck was going to come into my lane and squash me at any moment, was because he probably didn’t see me…..those people not letting me move over in construction…..wow, no wonder it was an extra tense drive last night. My angels were working over-time to keep me safe, I could almost picture them as they held other cars off and slowed some of them down, sped others up, caused me to need to tap my brakes to make some aware of my presence. Whew!
I woke up in the middle of the night, thinking about it again with that sinking feeling in my gut and saying again, “Wow! thank you God for your protection!” This morning, as I drank my coffee, my mind again replayed the whole scenario, and again I am thankful. I wonder why I can’t stop thinking about it. Nothing happened to me, nobody was a bad guy, I didn’t purposely do anything “wrong,” the car shop didn’t do anything “wrong.” I wasn’t sabotaged or attacked. I was protected.
I think that the reason why I can’t let it go is because I’m catching a glimpse of reality. That reality is that every single day, every hour of the day, there are massive things going on around us, whizzing by us at top speeds, dangers, threats, innocent mistakes, and outright negligence’s, the majority of which we cannot see so we never think to acknowledge them. God and His angels weren’t just protecting me last night, they weren’t doing an “extra good” job at it last night, or working harder than usual. They do that all the time! I’m just clueless 99% of the time. My incident last night just pulled back the curtain and let me see to a small measure what is going on behind the scenes. Can you imagine? The God of the universe, working to those lengths, on our behalf, constantly!
The temptation is to think, “nah, I’m not that important, why would He do that for me?” or “I watch out, I’m aware of my surroundings, I protect myself so that He doesn’t have to bother with me.” Or “Wow! I did it again! Why am I always messing up, and making more work for Him? He must be getting so tired of bailing me out.” The truth is that all of these thoughts crossed my mind, mad at myself for not being more aware, feeling sick that I made Him use His super powers for little ol’ me, wondering if there will be a day when I run out of chances, when He’s had enough of me.
And then there’s the greater Truth. His protection and His work on our behalf, His care for us, is all a natural outflow of His love for us. A love that we have not earned, that we don’t deserve, a love that does not have a beginning and has no end. A love that doesn’t see us as a burden, or as clumsy fools, but that sees us as children. As children of the Highest Love, it is not a work or an effort to protect, lead, or train us, it is a joy and a delight and a fulfillment of Love’s own desire. That pathway being forged through Love’s Sacrifice, that built a bridge, so that we could walk in the light and in the truth and in the freedom of Perfect Love. Part of that Love is protection.