My worst fears come upon me as I travel down the harrowing stretch of mountain road on the way home from a speaking event. The sky will darken soon. The cold rain pelts down. The cars travel too fast all around me.
I glance down to check my speed. I notice it then: a warning light comes on. Again. This seems to always happen to me. It’s Satan’s best strategy against me: car trouble when I’m alone, far from home, and traveling on dangerous roads.
It’s a rental car, and I pull over to discover the warning light means I’ve lost air pressure in one tire. After crying to my husband on the phone, I make my way to a gas station and ask a complete stranger–a white haired man who might actually have been an angel–to help me put air in my tire. The freezing rain pelts us both as we stand there fixing my tire.
And I’m scared. I’m tired. I’m cold. I’m at the end of my rope. And I’m worried I’m going to get a flat tire and go careening off the side of the mountain. This very real possibility (at least in my anxiety-ridden mind) means I’m traveling with likely death facing me.
I return to the road, and the warning light does not dim. I drive on and consider my options: I’m an hour from home. The car drives fine; in fact, I’m beginning to wonder if the light isn’t actually real, just some malfunction, some scare tactic that doesn’t represent any reality at all. Is the tire losing air? It doesn’t feel like it. Am I OK? Yes, here I am. I’m breathing. I’m OK. I’m moving forward. Besides, there’s really nowhere to stop as I crest the mountain and descend into the valley that’s home.
I travel slowly, carefully, and near the shoulder all the way home. The whole time, I’m praying about that warning light. The whole time, I’m telling the Lord that it seems wise to travel anyway, to keep moving, to set my sights on home. I realize warning lights will always come; I’m in a dangerous world–both physically and spiritually–but the difference is I’ve got God here.
We travel in the midst of scare tactics and warning signs–some real, some imagined, some easy fixes, some immobilizing. It’s wise to pull over for a bit and check out the situation, to pause, to seek help, to pray. We read the manual to know if it’s a warning light that means stop immediately. But still, we’d find another way to get home. We’d keep moving somehow.
The warning light then, changes how we travel (more carefully) but not if we travel. Sure, the enemy prowls. But last night, I decided to keep moving forward.
And I made it home.