Before we were married, Jim took me and the kids—his and mine—to Gatlinburg for a long weekend so that we could all get to know each other a little better. We had all gone hiking up one of the mountains in the state park where he planned to propose to me during the trip. However, one of the kids was sick and it just didn’t seem to be the right environment as she whined up and down the mountain, so he kept my ring in his pocket and continued to watch for the perfect moment to ask me for my hand in marriage.
There weren’t a lot of parking spaces near the trail we were hiking on so we had to park on a small spot on the side of the skinny mountain road on a very sharp incline. When we were done hiking and all piled back into the car, Jim put his foot on the gas pedal to leave but we didn’t move. He tried gunning it a couple of times and still nothing. So the boys climbed out to see what was going on and why we weren’t moving. The back tire was hanging off the edge and they thought maybe it wasn’t getting enough traction, so with the two boys pushing, Jim tried again to no avail. Some nice hikers saw us trying to get out of the parking spot and offered us a hand too. Before we knew it, there were about five men pushing from behind to get us on our way. They pushed and pushed and again…nothing.
Then one of the men came from behind the van, knocked on Jim’s window and asked, “Do you have your emergency brake on by any chance?” Much to Jim’s dismay, he reached down and low and behold, found the brake on. It made sense because we had been parked on such a steep incline, he just forgot to take it off when we started again. We all laughed as we realized that we just made about five strangers sweat and work to try to move our van that was never going to move even if there were ten pushing! Once he released the break, he easily pulled out of the spot with no help at all! Had Jim not been so distracted about once again not finding the perfect moment to propose as he had planned and not been so tired from the trip, he probably wouldn’t have been so preoccupied and forgot to release the brake when we were leaving.
I think about this and still giggle to this day. Poor guy had a plan and between the kids and I, it kept being thwarted. I think about that story and can relate it to our Christian walks. How many of us feel as though we are in out of control situations, like being parked on the edge of a cliff on a steep incline? Our first inclination is to put our emergency brake on and stop everything isn’t it? You know…take control to make sure we are safe. Often we feel like we push and push and never get anywhere. Or sometimes when we find our plans not going as we thought, we get tired, and we simply loose our focus on God where our true power lies. Sometimes, we just forget that we have God’s power over us when we are in scary situations as we feel weak and vulnerable. There is no need to put on the emergency brake. It might require our friends who are not in the middle of our situations to come alongside to remind us that we need to let go, or release the brake so to speak though when we can’t see it ourselves. As Christians, we are given God’s power through His Holy Spirit. With God on our side, we should have no fear. If we simply release our control, God is free to show His power and keep us safe from those things that cause us to fear and prevent us from moving forward.
My prayer for you is that you will call on God’s power in your life this week. May He be more real to you than ever as you cling to Him through your trials, looking to Him for His mighty power to get you through.
Isaiah 40: 28-31 (NKJV)
28 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the LORD,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.