Yesterday morning, I woke up with every intention to go to service. The night before I had laid out my clothing, had packed my bag and had reviewed my travel route. I was scheduled to sing again with the Praise Team. I was originally, not on the schedule, however, had attended rehearsal, and because I was technically available. I had confirmed with my husband that he would not need to utilize the car. We had been sharing mine for the last week or so because his needs to be repaired. This would be my first attempt to drive to church alone since my accident late last year. He would be staying back to get a jump start on lesson planning for the week.
I got up about an hour earlier and turned on the local broadcast. I wanted to see the weather forecast for the morning. Since relocating to Houston, I have experienced conditions I never had to deal with while living in New York. Foggy weather so thick that you cannot see the house 3 doors down, blanketing rain showers that flood highways so deeply that you can see vehicles floating down them and this all in one season. My local weather person was reporting we had a dense fog advisory for most of the day with isolated showers sweeping across our region. I had never driven in fog before. I was still getting used to driving at night in our residential area. However, I knew I needed to at least try to drive to church. I was not going to let fear stop me.
I attempted to contact my leader who lives not too far from me to see if her offer to ride with me was still available. She didn’t answer my texted inquiry or my phone call. I took that as a sign that I should go ahead and test myself driving alone. Well, not exactly alone, I knew Jesus was with me.
I locked up and left the house. I got in the car and prepared to tackle the GPS, however, for some reason my GPS could not find an address it had been to before several times. I wasn’t discouraged. I had my Smartphone and plugged in the address and was now ready to go. I backed out the driveway and then stopped. I thought this is crazy. I can’t even see half way down my block, but I am going to try to drive almost an hour away!?!? That voice I knew was my fears screaming loudly between my ears.
I thought for a moment and then said out loud “My faith is greater than my fears. I can do this with Jesus”. I turned the car back on and raised the volume on the music I was listening to “Overcoming Fear – Sermon Songs III” from my pastor, Dr. Creflo A. Dollar, Jr. and continued on down the block.
I began to drive cautiously as my senses began to get used to the driving conditions. A car soon appeared and followed me till we got to the highway entrance. Then quite suddenly, they cut me off to merge ahead of me onto the speedway. After a second of me saying to myself… “Really, wherever you have to go must be so important that it has you almost causing an accident?” I had to laugh and say… “Yes, righteous anger does dispel fear very nicely.”
I drove two exits away from my home to the main thruway so I could get some gas since I only had half a tank and started to have some challenges. My new car’s gas tank is on the opposite side of my old truck. This would be my first time gassing up this car. So, after a few attempts, I successfully filled up. I decided I would try one more time to call my leader, and so pulled into a parking space. She again did not pick up. I confirmed my phone ringer was off. I got back on the highway and continued driving to church.
When I first entered the highway I could hear myself saying I just want to turn around and go home. Though the scene itself was actually pretty with the fog covering the roadway in a blanket of clouds, I was driving in conditions that were unfamiliar to me. In that instinct, I genuinely had to trust God. The night before, I had said this confession to myself while looking in the mirror, “I am only the co-pilot, and Jesus is in the driver’s seat.” As I merged into traffic and then signaled because I would be exiting at the next exit, I began repeating it again out loud to myself. I successfully exited and prepared to turn and merge onto the tollway. When the other drivers didn’t let me in and so not to cause an accident I missed my opportunity to enter. In that split second, to avoid the drama I decided to drive as far as I could down the feeder roads that I was more familiar with.
I kept passing entrances, which indicated they required the Texas equivalent of EZ Pass, but my car is not outfitted with that yet. So, I drove on. I finally saw a car ahead of me entering the tollway, and I immediately followed it. However, I didn’t follow it close enough and ended up on an elevated bridge, in rain and dense fog. I saw that no other cars were behind me, so I began to take my time and pray in tongues as I drove the length of the bridge. My GPS was trying to figure my route. At that point, the weather conditions were getting too crazy for me, so I just said, “Lord, please just get me home safely.” As I entered back on the tollway which I later learned was in the direction to home, my phone began to vibrate. I didn’t dare look at it I just kept driving. My GPS kept trying to re-route me back in the direction of the church. However, by this time I was determined to return home. I kept seeing accidents on the other side of the roadway and even an ambulance breeze by. When I finally reached a toll booth, I was amazed that the exit just beyond it was the one that would take me back to our house. In all the time, I had driven around, almost an hour and a half. I had only encountered that one toll.
When I reached the familiar roadway close to the house I was so excited, but I reminded myself to drive carefully. When I entered in the house, my husband was shocked because he had thought I certainly had made it safely and was in sound check. His first instinct was to ask me if something had happened. I told him no I was OK, it just wasn’t meant for me to be there now. He asked me if I were disappointed in not being at church. I told him I was a bit, but more so proud of myself for making the effort.
I didn’t get physically to service, but I did learn/have reinforced these extremely valuable points:
1) I am a better driver than I thought.
2) Jesus unquestionably is in the driver’s seat.
3) Angels are encamped about me and my vehicle
4) When the Holy Spirit says to slow your roll to be obedient and do it.
I am only ever the co-pilot, when fear attempted to take over, and I cried out to Jesus… He was there to guide me safely home.
My leader had finally seen my attempts in reaching her and apologized. I told her it was ok and I apologized to her for not being there. We were both in agreement that God was undeniably in the mix and praised him for it.
I am just thankful that even in my stubbornness God revealed to me valuable lessons on how to and why I should trust him always.
Later that morning, after I had calmed down about the excitement of it all; I logged into service and got my spiritual feeding without missing a beat.
© 2014, Lela Jefferson Fagan. All rights reserved.