Stuck in First Gear

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Ready to chuckle (and feel smart)?

A traveler (let’s call him Joe) labored all night to make it to his destination. Upon his arrival the next morning, Joe complained that the rental car was abominably slow. Empathizing with his guest, Joe’s host went out to take a look at the car, hopped in, and took it for a short spin at normal speeds. After a bit of discussion, the mystery was solved. Joe, who had never before driven a stick shift, had no idea that the car came with several gear options. He had left it stuck in first gear for the entire trip. (True story, names changed to protect the embarrassed.)

You and I would never make such a mistake, right? Probably not, but the question I’m asking myself today is this, “Am I ever spiritually stuck in first gear?”

  • God offers rest and strength. Yet sometimes I fumble through my day fogged in by physical and emotional exhaustion. More often than not, this is because my pride has kept me from saying no to some great-looking opportunity that sends my life into overload. (Or, maybe saying yes was the right choice, but I’ve decided to tackle the chore by relying only on my own inadequate strength.)
  • God offers hope and peace and joy. Yet just last night I allowed myself to be downcast, wallowing in self-pity, because it looks like I will have to give up “my way” on some future plans. “Let not your heart be troubled” is a convicting phrase. It tells me that my heart is only troubled when I let it be so.
  • God promises to supply all of my needs. I need never waste time worrying that I will come up short, but sometimes I do a bit of worthless hand-wringing.
  • God offers forgiveness and new life. What a shame that I still fall into the trap of beating myself up over past errors!
  • God does miracles. Going to him should always be my first response in every crises, no matter how big or small. Sometimes, though, he is relegated to “the last resort,” when I finally come back to my senses and remember once again that I am not in control.
  • I read somewhere that “Unanswered prayer is an oxymoron.” (Ah, yes, it’s a chapter title in this book by Nick Harrison. Do I always keep prayer running throughout my day, trusting that the yes, no, and wait answers will always be what is best? Nope. Sometimes, I am stuck in first gear. But our Lord wants to give us all these things: rest, strength, hope, peace, joy, forgiveness, new life and miraculous supply. We have not because we ask not, so let’s start asking!

We’ve each been given a spiritual sports car. It’s time to take it out of first gear. I hope you’ll write and tell me how you’ll do that this week.

 

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