I was sitting at a drive-through window yesterday when I got that sinking feeling. No, I wasn’t debating the merits of fast food on my waistline, nor was I kvetching about spending the money on fast food when it could have gone into my European vacation fund (if I had one). I wasn’t saddened by my choices. Nor was I aware of any upcoming doom that might have been averted by forewarning. My heart and my head were unaffected by this sinking feeling. Instead, it was my right foot that gave way beneath me. Only my right foot.
Odd, I thought. I cautiously raised my foot part way and put it back down. Again, my foot sank. By now, I hope you’ve figured out where my right foot was and possibly what was being affected. I’ll give you a hint. Consider that I was in a drive-through. In my car. Oh, what the heck, I’ll just say it. That sinking feeling was caused by my brake pedal. MY brake pedal. My BRAKE pedal. My brake PED … you get the picture — when you realize something is wrong with your car and the moment of panic sets in.
How was I going to get home? Safely.
Obviously, I’m no mechanic. I had no idea why this was happening. All I could do was have an “Oh, Lord, is it the Apocalypse” moment and then regroup, pull myself out from in front of the raging locomotive of anxiety and onto the placid lake of “I’ve got this.” Who am I kidding? It’s bad enough that I mixed metaphors, but I’m not going to pretend that I wasn’t pretty upset by the situation. My motor of perpetual escalation was running faster than the car’s, but what could I do?
Once I got my food, I very carefully pulled into a parking space and got out to examine the car. I live in the Upper Midwest. The Upper Midwest has snow in the winter. A lot of it. My car had what I affectionately call “snow poop” built up in the wheel wells. Hmm, thought I, I shall kicketh off the snow poopeth and the vehicle shall be saved. Yeah, no. That wasn’t it.
So what do I do? I sat and debated about calling my husband. I could drop the car off at the mechanics which was sort of on the way home and have him pick me up, but by then the food would be cold. Plus, the mechanic was closed by now. The car was still drive-able, so I made the decision to drive the three miles home. If I could hit the lights just right, I would be okay, I figured. There were no warning lights on in the dash, and the car still braked. It was when I applied continuous pressure that the pedal sank. So, wise or not, after making sure that there was a wide gap in traffic, I set off for home.
And prayed. I prayed for green lights. I prayed that the car in front of me would turn. I prayed that the car behind me would back off. (Okay, I always pray for that one. I’ve been rear-ended more than once.) I prayed to make it safely home. And I did. The food was still warm. Bonus!
So the car is currently parked in the garage waiting for our next harrowing trip to the mechanic this afternoon. The hardest part will be going down our sloped drive-way backwards. I hope.
When I apply the brakes in my car, I expect them to work. If they don’t, I know something is wrong, and hopefully, it can be fixed. Quite often, it’s not the problem that I think it might be. I’m no mechanic, so it’s no wonder that I’m often wrong. What I know for certain is that my brakes need fixed, and I need to leave my car in the hands of someone who can fix it.
I’m like the broken brakes; I cave under pressure. When I apply prayer, I expect it to work. If it doesn’t, I get that sinking feeling. I get angry and anxious and confused about what I should do. But, it’s not the prayer that is broken. It’s that what I’m praying about is often times not the problem that God knows needs to be fixed.
The Great Mechanic knows what’s wrong with me. He’s the one that fixes me, despite my self-diagnosis, because He’s the one who knows my ins and outs.
Just like my mechanic knows my car. I’ll have to pay him, of course. Depending on what’s wrong, it may cost an arm and a leg. But that’s a lot less than what Jesus paid to fix the broken me.
Well, off I go … after I pray for green lights all the way.