I was reading highlights out of Francis Chan’s Forgotten God to Hubs in the car on the way home from dropping Jovie off at school. We were discussing how we can tend to get tripped up on what, as a couple, we are called to be doing. We have these grand sweeping convictions. Big picture things, you know? But we are blind to any baby steps of obedience God might be calling us to because we’re always eagerly viewing the horizon of potential obedience.
During this conversation, Barrett referenced the countless times he’d seen a car pulled over and thought, I should see if they need help. For whatever reason, and countless excuses later, he drives on by. He told me how convicted he feels. We make a left at the light. He starts laughing.
Completely oblivious to my surroundings, I ask him to explain.
“There’s a car on the side of the road. I have to stop now, don’t I?”, he asks.
Nervous laughter exits my lips as I confirm, “Yep. You definitely have to.”
He hits the flashers and pulls our SUV parallel to the car. The driver is leaning to the right, digging for something in his back seat. He’s an older white male, balding. And he never looks over at us. I see a secret service like device behind his ear, with a transparent spiral cord running down his neck.
Barrett’s fear was the conviction of suppressing the Holy Spirit’s obvious prompting in this moment. Mine was that we were about to die. The man didn’t look over. I wanted to yell for Hubs to just drive away. A for effort, me thinks. Good job. Proud of you. Let’s get moving along now, shall we? But, this is his thing… and I know I can’t.
He readjusts our spot to a place in front of the man’s car. Shoot. I didn’t look at the license plate. This man is going to shoot my husband and I don’t have the license plate number. I don’t even know what kind of car it is. Black. Blue, maybe? Oblivious to my surroundings, remember? Barrett opens the door, gets out. I lose brief sight of him. Suddenly, he jumps back in.
The whole thing was maybe 30 seconds, but honestly, the stress of it all might’ve taken a few years off my life.
“That was definitely a test.” He says, in a proud accomplished tone.
“I agree.” And I did agree. Maybe more than he knew. It was a test for both of us. Barrett passed his. I failed mine miserably. I let fear consume me. And sure, you could argue, in the world that exists today you can never be too safe. But I’ve been reading chapters upon chapters of having faith over fear. And I failed.
Hubs- “Were you really that scared?”
Hubs- “What did you think was going to happen?”
Me- “He was going to shoot you.”
Hubs- “Because that’s what secret service people do?”
Me- “I don’t know. Fear doesn’t make any sense.”
And there it was. Staring at me in the reflection of this black (or maybe blue) stranger’s car. I don’t let God have total control because I’m petrified. So I stare off in the distance prematurely proud of all my convictions that I’ll somehow manage to suppress as the minutes march on.
Dear God, help me see the cars on the side of the road. And more so, give me the courage to pull over and trust.