There are three different routes I can take to work. Two involve the use of our local highway, and one employs the backroads. Naturally, this third route is the prettiest…but also the longest…
That week, as so often happens in the fall of the year, our stroke unit at the rehabilitation hospital where I work quickly filled to beyond my capacity to care for them. With a record number of new admissions already that week, my list of reports to write was critically long and my “in” basket was overflowing. All I could do that Wednesday evening was stare at my jam-packed schedule for the following day and sigh. “I don’t know how You’ll do it this time, Lord,” I prayed, “but I give it all to you!”
I don’t know how many times I repeated my prayer of surrender that evening, but it was again on my lips the following morning. Somehow, however, I felt strangely at peace. You can imagine my delight when the unbelievable happened: I was ready to leave for work half an hour earlier than usual! “So that’s how You are going to do it,” I mused as I got into my car.
I was sure God would guide me down the quickest route to work so as to get a headstart on the to-do list, but I was doomed for disappointment when the impression was clear: Take the long way! “But God,” I argued, “that will cut into the extra time You are giving me at work!
Naturally, my argument did no good, for the impression remained clear, and I grudgingly passed the turn-off for the highway. I hadn’t gone more than half a kilometer, however, when my low-fuel warning light came on. Great. Just one more thing to add to my day…I’d have to stop for fuel on my way home!
But wait. Wasn’t the cheapest gas in the region at a station directly on my “long route” to work? Hadn’t I left for work early?
“But that will completely use up the extra time You have given me, Lord!” I grumbled.
Nonetheless, the impression was clear: stop for fuel.
An emergency came up just as I was about to leave work that evening, putting me 45 minutes behind schedule. When I got into my car, both mentally and physically exhausted, I remembered that I didn’t have to stop for fuel, and I rejoiced. Knowing fully in advance that I wouldn’t have the time or energy to get fuel after work, God had provided another way. That’s when I realized something vitally important: God had given me the fuel incident as a sign. Through this occurrence of rather small significance, He was showing me that He is in control. The God who could arrange for me to be able to get fuel at the most convenient time, even when I didn’t immediately recognize it as such, was also big enough to take care of my super-stuffed schedule at work; and knowing that I would continue to worry about the workload, He had lovingly sent me a sign to prove to me yet again that worry was His to handle.
How true Jesus’ advice to us: “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matt. 6:31-34 NLT).
It is interesting to think that if I had not been in prayer that morning on my way to work, I likely would simply have taken the highway. I would have become upset when the fuel light came on, and I would have completely missed the sweet, caring hand of my Lord and Savior. Is it for naught that we are admonished to be continually in prayer and to always give thanks? “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:16 NLT)
Does the road ahead seem bumpy? Not sure how you’ll get through? Pray. Give thanks, rejoice. Open your heart to God’s Spirit who will pour His encouragement upon you so that you will not stumble or fall.
Fuel anyone? There’s this great place to buy it. It’s on my long route to work…
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.