I like being used by God. It usually gives me a great sense of contentment... a nice warm feeling.
But I had a situation a while back, that I haven't really talked about, but I feel like God's laid it on my heart to do so. So, sit back, and get ready for a bit of a read.
I don't like change, or the unknown. I realize how ironic that is, since we are getting ready to move half-way across the world, to a country we've never been to. But I think one of the reasons God let me grow up as a missionary kid, was because he knew this was in my future. I have no fear of becoming a missionary.
It's smaller things that make me anxious.
Most notably driving.
Most 16-year-olds can't wait to get their license! I've had 3 permits. In 3 states. Growing up in Europe, and then even going to college in Europe, this was never really an issue. Everyone takes public transportation. I was taking public transportation into downtown European cities by myself at an age some American parents still worry about their child riding the school bus. So, it's not about the independence. It's not that I'm a bad driver. I'm a good, very safe driver. I just feel like it's so much responsibility to go out on the roads, in this massive metal machine, and trust my life, and the lives of those I hold dearest in the world to a bunch of strangers, hoping they're decent enough drivers. To me, driving simply involves too many variables.
I finally got my license when I was pregnant with Aidan. It was one of the most stressful days of my life. Seriously. I think I'd rather go through child-birth than take another driving test. But regardless, I got my license, and a very dear couple from our church at the time gifted me with a car.
I was now a full-fledged adult in the eyes of American society.
One day, on my way to work, I was pulling out of our apartment complex, and attempting to cross traffic. I looked both ways, but somehow I didn't see a car coming from the left. I pulled out, and hit them on the back right side. It was a terrible crunch. I'm thankful I had enough whits about me to pull back into the apartment complex. I could see the car I'd hit. They had pulled up a little bit, and stopped. Three men got out of the car. I got out of my car, and went to check on them. The damage wasn't bad, but I'd definitely put a dent in the back of their car. There was one man, who had been in the backseat, holding his side, and the other two were shouting at each other, and me. I said I was so sorry, I didn't see them, and were they okay? I told them I was about to call the police. That's when it started getting crazy.
They asked me not to call the police. They said if I just gave them money to fix the car, they'd be on their way. I went back to my car. I called Dan who was getting ready for work, and had Aidan. He asked if I'd called the police yet, and I said no, so he did. When the police arrived, they had the other car brought over to where mine was. The man who was holding his side kept hanging out with me, instead of the men he was in the car with. He kept telling me all he wanted to do was get home to Virginia. Then the police started taking our statements. None of the men from the other car had a valid license. The man who was driving and the other man started telling the police that the man who was in the back was driving. The police asked me, and I said no, the man in the white shirt had been driving. That man started yelling at me, when the police noticed the seatbelt mark on his shirt - on the left side. At that point, the man started being belligerent, it turned out he had a suspended license, so between those two things, the police arrested him. In the meantime, the EMTs showed up, to check us all out (which none of us needed). The man who had been holding his side (which he wasn't doing anymore), refused to get checked out, and the EMTs assumed he was with me, because he kept standing by my, and was VERY much avoiding the two other men. Then he started talking to me, telling me he didn't even know these guys, and they were on their way to "work".
Finally the police took all our information, took the arrested driver away, and we were left with this man. He asked if we would take him to the bus station. We said yes. So, Dan dropped Aidan and I off at school, and took the man to the bus stop.
On the way to the bus stop, he told Dan that he had recently gotten out of jail, had just met those guys, and when I had hit them, the reason they all got out of the car, was to ditch their guns in the bushes. Dan bought him a ticket home. We never heard from him again. The driver submitted a claim with our insurance for soft tissue damage, but never followed through. My car wasn't worth trying to fix, so we sold it.
It all turned out much better than it could've.
But I was shook up.
Really shook up.
I didn't feel comfortable driving again for a long time. And I was kinda angry. I had finally felt confident driving, and then this craziness happened.
And that's when God spoke to me, "I needed them off the road. And it was more important than your comfort."
That's when He guided me towards Romans 8:28-39.
People use this/these verses to encourage themselves or others when they are going through trying times. But my focus was on verse 32. I underlined it in the passage above. God sacrificed His Son. There simply is no greater sacrifice one can give. As Christians we are called to live sacrificially. We translate that to money or time, but it arches over ALL areas of our lives. Our comfort. Our securities/insecurities. Our safety.
It's not the happy-clappy side of Christianity, but I think it's one of the big steps we need to take in our maturation as Christians. My life is not my own. This is not misguided self-sacrificing. I'm not going to start throwing myself in front of buses, in case there is someone on there who is on their way to hurt someone.
But in that moment, God needed me. He needed me to stop those men from whatever they were going to do. He knew He would help me overcome my fears again. He knew I could handle it, even though He knew it was hard for me, He allowed it to happen.
As I was driving in the car today, Hillary Scott's Thy Will Be Done was playing. I love how raw that song is. As someone in love with Christ, but is also a control-freak, this song hits home. She has a line that says, "Sometimes I gotta stop and remember that you're God and I'm not".
There are bigger things going on around me than my fears. God sees the whole picture, and I don't. And if I sincerely pray for God to use me, I have to be ready for the possibility that I won't like it.
There is one more thing that came out of that accident. I pray for the man Dan bought the bus ticket for. I don't know if there's anyone else in his life who does that. But there is now. I pray for his safety, his health, and that he would come to know the Lord.
Being used by God can be uplifting, cathartic, and awe-inspiring. But it can also be terrifying, hard and painful.
The bottom line is, am I willing to give my all, my life in the service of God? And the answer is yes.
I am no longer angry about it. I still don't enjoy driving, but I am willing and able to do it. I gain confidence every day.
So why am I sharing this story? Because I felt like God needed someone to hear it. Following God isn't easy, and there is sacrifice. But God has promised blessings to those who hear His voice, and obey Him.