Last Sunday I was lamenting to another mother, who had already survived through the process of teaching three teenagers how to drive, that my 15 year-old have driven me to church in our car with the manual clutch and that I was not sure my neck would last for the return trip home. During our short conversation about driving with teenagers though she offered me the following advice: “There were times when my daughter would just refuse to drive when we were going somewhere and I would never force her to drive because for each time she asked for me to be behind the wheel instead of herself we had something happen on our drive that made us both realize it had been a good thing I had been behind the wheel instead of her, for example an animal jumping out in front of us or something else like that.” I took what she had to say as experienced advice that I should heed in the future, knowing she had much more experience and knowledge that I did in this area.
Then, we came to last night and my son completely refusing to drive to church. (Mind you he had never heard the conversation I just told you about above.) My husband was not happy our son was going to miss this opportunity for some more driving experience, but then I relayed the advice I had received from our friend at church and said I felt I just needed to trust what she told me was something God wanted us to hear for this time and be obedient in not fighting this issue. My husband agreed and so the boys and I left for church with me driving.
It was a pleasant evening last night and the drive seemed like it really would not be eventful, but I kept on alert anyways. Then, we rounded a corner on the rural highway we take to church, and a mini-van was suddenly half-way into our lane. I made a quick swerve making sure to miss the van and not plunge us into the deep ditch on the other side of the road. As we continued on with our driving after those few unnerving moments, I looked at my son and said, “Now we know why you didn't feel like you should drive tonight.” It had been the Holy Spirit protecting us from a head-on collision with that mini-van!
I have had things like this happen way too many times in my life to chalk them up to chance. God had been orchestrating a way to save us from a dangerous, and most likely deadly collision, which He foreknew was going to happen. I did not save us from danger, but rather God with His exceeding grace and mercy towards our family brought the warning we needed to not only hear, but also to obey, in order to keep us from the danger He knew was before us.
I think it is interesting that next to Psalm 37:23, George Mueller wrote in his own personal bible, “And the stops too.” God does not always call us to “do” something so that we can see His mighty hand work in our lives. Instead, there are times He asks us to “stop” what we are doing so we can see His mighty hand work without our actions getting in the way of His provision for us. God is always at work around us and we need to be ever mindful of His desire to guide our feet, order our steps, and fulfill the words He has spoken to us.
My experience last night was just another reminder that God is watching over me and my family for the purposes He has thus far only shown me only small parts of as I have sought to understand the plans He has for my husband, my kids, and myself in the future. I know trusting in Him to make those purposes come to fruition is the only choice I have. I do not see the big picture like God does or His plan for making each intricate part of His plan come together in any life, including my own, so that His glory can be reflected through each and every situation we encounter.
I have to be mindful each day that the going and the stopping are both completely natural roles in being used by God and that my role in all of this is to just listen and obey with complete joy, pointing to the Lord and saying, “Look at what He did here – here – here – and here!” Just like I did last night to my sons and then when I got home and shared with my husband what had happened on the drive. I hope you too have many experiences with the Lord which give you opportunity to share with others and show them how God can work mightily in a life lived in obedient faith to His requests. One glorious testimony on top of another - that is the life of a saint who has steps ordered by the Lord Jesus.