Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Warning Lights

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Proverbs 27:1
Yesterday morning I awoke with plans to spend the day over in Birmingham. I had cleared my schedule in hopes of driving to visit a dear friend that had been hospitalized and returning before school pick up time--a sweet day with someone I care about. Good plans.

It was a relatively smooth morning considering I was trying to actually dress in something other than a pony tail and work out clothes for drop off. We loaded the car (on time) and as I started the engine, it greeted me: a warning light advising me that the air in one of my tires was low. I groaned, then dismissed it as a side effect of the first chilly morning of the Fall, convincing myself it was nothing worth altering plans over. As I drove to school, something kept nagging my gut to take heed.

I live in a small Southern town. There is a 'tire place' where all the locals go for old time Gospel music, great service and trustworthy advice. This establishment is usually quite busy and it was not on my route--factors to consider when I was already pressed for time. Nonetheless, something told me to turn the car around, take the detour and have it checked out 'just in case.'

Five minutes later I was reporting what the warning light had said to a professional. Ten minutes after that I was informed that I had a flat tire AND a damaged wheel. Of course, the wheel would need to be ordered and I was temporarily outfitted with a spare. In other words, there would be no five hour round trip to Birmingham.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 NIV

I was so bummed. My plans had been derailed, but it could have been much worse than just the disappointment of plans changing. What if I had gotten stuck on a highway somewhere--or worse yet, had a dangerous accident?

Instead of a road trip, I had an open day at home to be productive, quiet & reflective. As I tried to be thankful in my circumstances, the Lord brought another proverb to mind:

Wise people see danger and go to a safe place. But childish people keep going and suffer for it. Proverbs 22:3 NIRV

There are certainly times in life when we have no warning. Life sometimes slams into us full speed with unexpected news, colliding into our expectations for how things were 'supposed to be.' There are, however, many, many other times when we are alerted that our heart/attitude/relationships are in need of maintenance. The mark of a life lived with wisdom is largely what we do in those times. Do we heed the caution lights--or pridefully proceed with our plans? Do we place higher value on our convenience or our conscience? 

Honestly, it is a shake up for me. I like spontaneity. I rebel sometimes over all the analysis and research that tends to come with responsible adulthood...and often, I am a fool as a result. I mean, even in the case of my tire, the car diagnosed the problem, spelled it out AND described the recommended solution--and I still almost ignored it.

The sad truth is that in other parts of my life I am tempted to respond the same way. This 38 year old Christ-follower can quickly revert back to the sassy know-it-all teenager of decades ago, rolling my eyes at the warnings of my Heavenly Father.

I am old enough now to know better. Trust in the heart of our Father helps us realize that God's dashboard lights and gut checks aren't intended as party poopers and plan disrupters--they are safety features installed because of His love and care.

The warning lights aren't always as obvious in my life as they were yesterday morning in my car--but when we abide in Him and listen for His voice in our heart, He will answer. He will guide. He does care. And while life still will not be perfect, we will be better off for it.

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