The car was pretty much out of control—at least it sure wasn’t doing what I was telling it to do. As best as I can remember, it was during that little “moving forward and sideways all at the same time” maneuver, while I was madly spinning the wheel and trying to keep the car on the muddy road and out of the deep, muddy swamp on each side, that the question first crossed my mind: “What in the WORLD am I doing here? How did I get here in the first place?”
Finally, the muddy road ended and after narrowly avoiding getting stuck in a grassy, mucky spot in the field, I traveled the last 100 feet to the building with the front of the car facing the direction of travel. I got out of the car and began surveying it for any damage. It was mud from front bumper to taillights, the thick, gooey, red clay mud that sticks to whatever it touches and won’t let go. In spite of having bottomed out a couple of times, there didn’t appear to be any substantial damage. It looked a lot worse than it really was.
“I can’t believe this,” I said to myself. The road didn’t look all that bad, at least not until I had already gone too far to turn back, feeling instead the need to keep moving to keep the car from being swallowed up in the ruts and holes. “How in the world did I ever get into this mess?”
The answer came almost immediately, from a still, small voice within. “I tried to tell you to take the 4-wheel drive truck.” He had me there. I did remember thinking that I should detour and pick up the truck. “I also tried to tell you not to drive your car in here.” Ouch—nailed again. I did remember the thought that I ought to park at the road and walk in, but I didn’t want to walk that far if I could avoid it. I should have listened.
I stood there, looking at my mud-encrusted, late-model automobile, and finally, I said, “Yeah, you’re right, Lord. This was really a dumb thing to do. I’m sorry that I didn’t obey the direction that You tried to give me. Now that I’m here, I don’t know how I’m going to get out, but it’s not your fault, it’s mine. I should have listened and obeyed your voice.”
Ever have that happen to you? You’re cruising along and all of a sudden you notice that you’re in trouble, and then you remember God trying to get your attention just a little while ago. I hate to admit it, but this was not the first time that I had experienced this. I’ve found myself in the middle of a business deal, and suddenly realize that I’m way off the path that God was leading me on. I’m working at the brand new job, and suddenly realize that I didn’t do my homework on this outfit like I should have. Every single time, I ask the immortal question, “How did I get here in the first place?” Every single time, I realize that, at some point, God tried to direct me, but I was too busy doing my own thing to notice.
God speaks to us all in different ways. Some of couldn’t handle God speaking to us audibly. He knows that, so He talks to us in other ways. Sometimes, it’s like “intuition,” and sometimes it’s just plain common sense. Sometimes it’s through the counsel of a friend or co-worker—I had been warned about this road. If you are watching and waiting for God to speak to you, He WILL speak in a way that will communicate with your unique style.
I finished my work, and loaded my gear into my mud-mobile. As I slipped in behind the wheel, I found myself praying, “Lord, I’m in trouble. There’s only one way out of here, and I don’t know if I can make it or not. I sure don’t deserve it, but—help!”
And then I heard it. It was a still, small voice, that clearly said “watch for the tracks of the trucks that have gone out before you, and follow them. They know where the bad spots are.”
I started the car and drove it out… all the way with it pointing in the right direction. Oh, there were a couple of good splashes, and a lot of muddy water on my windows, but a much smoother ride than when I drove in under my own direction. I guess the old saying applies here: “Keep your eyes on Jesus, and follow Him—He knows where you’re going, and He knows how to get you there.”
Next time, I think I’ll listen. The first time.