Sunday, October 9, 2011

Following the taillights

Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ. - 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV)
I’ve driven the road between Smithport and Punxsutawney thousands of times over the 31 years we’ve lived here. You’d think I could drive it blindfolded. But I can’t. One rainy Friday night proved that.
Not only was the wet pavement darker and harder to see, but the road had recently been tarred and chipped, so there were no lines painted to indicate where the middle and the edge were. Nothing but a few reflectors in the center, which disappeared in the glare of oncoming vehicles’ headlights. Using my high beams helped, but I had to dim them when a car approached or when someone was in front of me.
Several times after an oncoming car passed, I found myself in the center of the road. When you don’t know where the edge is, you tend to hug the middle. You don’t want to end up in the ditch.
I was about halfway home when I muttered a prayer: “Lord, please—no more oncoming cars. Let me have the road to myself so I can get home safely and with my sanity intact.”
A few minutes later, red taillights appeared in front of me. Oh, great. Now I’d have to keep my low beams on. Forget passing. I don’t like to pass on a four-lane highway in broad daylight, let alone on a dark and rainy night on a two-lane, country road with no lines.
I sighed and paced myself behind the car at a safe distance. After a mile, though, I realized that the taillights ahead were helping me to see which way the road went. I followed until my turnoff into Smithport. Only one car had approached after I had prayed. You can bet I breathed a prayer of thanks when I pulled into my driveway. I felt that God sent that car just for me, to help me find my way home.
Life can be dark and rainy at times, too, leaving us guessing how to stay on the road and out of the ditch. The familiar becomes unfamiliar. We’ve traveled the road before, but not in these circumstances. That’s when God sends someone to guide us. Someone who doesn’t flinch in the glare of oncoming problems. Someone who sees in the dark better than we do. Someone who can follow the twists and turns without the lines.
Oh, I probably would have gotten home safely that night without my “angel.” But it sure was comforting to know I wasn’t alone—that someone went before me, showing me the way home.
Thank you, Lord, for the folks You’ve sent to be guides during the dark and rainy times in my life. Through them, You remind me that I am never alone, that You have not forsaken me. Help me, in turn, to be the taillights for others who are having trouble finding their way. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Psalm 1


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