Monday night I’m driving down the road and suddenly my transmission just goes out.
I pull over (thankfully, I was on a back road) and put it in park, waited a second, put it back in drive, and off we go. I think, “Whew. Far out. Don’t know what that was, but glad it’s over.” About half a mile down the road it does it again. The usual sequence of “car trouble” thoughts and emotions begins to run, like this: “What the…?! O no. Doggone it” (this is the G version). Long deep sigh. Try a simple solution. That doesn’t work. Deeper sigh. Battle sweeping resignation, that whole “Why does life have to be so hard?” thing. Finally, I land on, “What am I going to do now?”
What made the trouble move from hassle to crisis was, I was four hours from home. What do I do now?
I put it in reverse, and drove back up the road to the neighbors. Asked if they had any transmission fluid. I’m hoping it’s a fluid issue. The fluid does register low, so I pour some in and limp back to the ranch. Call a local mechanic (he’s an hour away). He can’t even look at it for a week.
Now I’m faced with the dilemma of, “Do I stay here for a week, stranded, or do I try and drive it home and risk a total meltdown on the way, stranding me even further?” I begin to pray, to try and hear from God what I should do. But the drama of the crisis (“O no, I can’t be stuck here a week! And what if the repairs take even longer?! What am I going to do??!!”) is making it hard to hear from God. I find that’s almost always true – I find it really hard to hear from God when I am in high drama.
I try and calm down. Take a walk. I still can’t hear. At this point, I know pushing into hearing from God isn’t going to be helpful, so I do a little work around the place, let an hour or so go by. Settle down. I ask again, “Lord – what should I do? Stay? Try and make it home? What are you saying?” Part of what’s making it hard to hear is the fact that getting stuck here for a week is actually beginning to sound good to me. I get to skip out on life for a week. But the more responsible part of me knows this isn’t the time to cave in, and so I am trying to hear whatever it is God wants to say, and not just “go” with my growing desire to bail on life for a week with a beautiful excuse.
I hear God say, “You’ll make it home.” I said, “Really? Really? Lord, is this you?” “You’ll make it home.”
So, I risked it. Drove gently, didn’t push the transmission hard up the mountain passes, stopped halfway to check the fluid, and made it home. And I think to myself, “What was life like before I knew about hearing from God? I think I just navigated by trying to make good choices.” This is a much better life. God knows, by the way, and it really helps to ask.