Last night I got lost while I was driving. This is a frequent occurrence in my life – I blame Google Maps. They often mislead me, and yet I keep going back. It’s like I’m stuck in an unhealthy relationship. UGH.
When I get lost, I can get pretty upset. “Seriously, again???” I scream at the steering wheel as I drive 14 miles the wrong direction on the interstate because I’m waiting for an exit to turn around. And then I get even more upset at myself, because I’m freaking out about being lost when there are much bigger and worse things in life to be upset about. So I try to put myself in perspective by thinking about all the suffering in India, but somehow I still remain pissed about being lost, which spirals me down into guilt and shame about being such a hallow human being. Yeah…I’m a little crazy.
When I was lost last night I started to get upset, but like always, I tried to stop myself from getting upset. I was near the point of tears when I pulled over at a gas station to call for help. I got directions from my brother-in-law, and was about to pull out of Speedway when I noticed that it was packed. It was 9 o’clock at night and cars were lining up all around to pump gas, and somehow I was in the middle of one of those lines.
I decided to keep my spot in line and get gas – after all, everyone else was doing it. I realized this was probably one of those gas stations that you hear about on the radio, “The gas station at the intersection of so and so has the cheapest gas right now” – and then everyone flocks there. I never go to those gas stations because they are always far away. Well…because I was lost I was far away. And being lost just so happened to put me in the right place at the right time.
I waited in line, pumped gas, and jumped for joy when I saved $5.
And then, when I was driving away, I thought about God. I just know he led me to that gas station – he led me there to prevent me from spiraling down into my usual place guilt and shame. And he gave me a little gift – it was as if he put his arm around me, handed me a five dollar bill and told me that everything would be okay.
I know people who don’t believe that God works this way, and they probably think I’m foolish for having the faith to believe he does. But I really do – I believe that God is in every good thing. He is in the sound of the lawn mower that wakes me up on a summer morning, or the taste of a ripe strawberry. He is in the movies and books music that move me to tears or laughter.
He knows me so well, and he loves me so much that he provides me with seemingly insignificant things, like sunshine on my birthday or a used car that is green, because I like green cars. He knew I secretly wanted to write columns for my student newspaper, so he used the editor to ask me to write a weekly column my senior year of college – a dream come true. Or when I was on the World Race and I really wanted to read The Time Traveler’s Wife, but couldn’t find it anywhere, and when I did it was way too much money… so then he gave it to me a few weeks later. Or when I can’t find my cell phone or wallet, and he whispers in my ear and leads me to look behind the couch. There are so many things throughout each day that remind me how romantic God is.
And that’s what it is, really, it’s romance. God doesn’t need to do any of these things for me – he doesn’t need to lead me to a gas station that has good deals when I’m upset – he does it because he cares for me, down to the most insignificant detail in my life. That’s why it’s romantic.
It’s like a husband who buys chocolate popcorn for his wife when she’s having a bad day, because he knows she likes chocolate popcorn. He doesn’t need to do that, and he could do other, more practical things to make her day better. But he knows it will make his wife feel special, because it shows that he really, truly knows her in a way that other people don’t.
…yeah, I’m one of those “Jesus is my boyfriend” girls. What of it?
Anyway. I want to leave you with this quote from a book I’m reading…
“My friend goes to a spiritual director, and I was asking her about it, and she said, basically, Sister Carmen asks her to talk about her life, and she points out the presence and action and grace of God when my friend didn’t even notice it was there. So it was there all along, and the trick is learning to see it. Each one of our lives is shot through, threaded in and out with God’s provision, his grace, his protection, but on the average day, we notice it about as much as we really notice gravity or the hole in the ozone. So what I’m trying to do is learn to see the way Sister Carmen sees. Because once you start seeing the faithfulness and the hope, you see it everywhere. And little by little, here and there, you realize that all of life is woven with bits and stories of God’s goodness.” – Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines