I am almost embarrassed to tell this story yet I know that freedom comes from sharing our testimony, so here it goes!
It was an ordinary Sunday afternoon, church was over and dad needed to go to the grocery store. Let me preface this story with dad is 85 and can no longer live alone so we try to help him out as much as taking him to the store and doctor appointments. Being in bad health his demeanor is usually grumpiness and some confusion so the usual running conversation on Sunday afternoon goes something like this:
Me: Dad, are you ready to go shopping?
Dad: I would have rather gone this morning.
Me: Sorry Dad I had to go to church.
Dad: Had to go?
Me: Yes dad, we have Bible Study and I am on the worship team.
Dad: Ok, well, I hope I can make it…
This is the conversation we have almost every Sunday. Then we get to the store and he is frustrated with how full the parking lot is and how many people he anticipates to be in the store. Once we get in he worries the whole time the electric cart is going to leave him stranded in the middle of the store. It is really sad to see how much fear riddles my dads life and frustrating at the same time, especially when those around us have no idea what we have been through just to get to the dairy section of the store.
So on this particular Sunday I was thinking a strategy in my head of how I was going to drop dad off at the grocery section of the store and I was going to go in the other entrance because I knew we needed hand soap. So as I was parking the car I was planning my trip into the store when I pulled into the parking spot only to notice the car in front of me was about to leave and I thought to myself, “Boy I bet they are mad because they can’t just pull through to leave.’ (which is surely a thought I would have had if it was me) Then a car pulled up two spots away with a really loud stereo and my attention was drawn to that instead.
After all of those distractions I went back to focusing on the task at hand: Operation Hand Soap. I entered the store as planned, grabbed the hand soap and headed across the store to the produce section where dad was waiting not so patiently and we spent the next hour acquiring groceries and disputing whether we needed items or not. Almost done and dad is in a panic because the electric cart is at half battery so I tell him to proceed to the front check outs and I will finish getting the last few items. (which I took too long to do and prompted a cell phone call to inquire what happened to me)
We get to the check-out, I pack up the cart and the usual routine is dad pays and I head off to load the car and pick him up. I reach for my keys and they are absent from my purse…already in a state of frustration, I begin to panic. I had hoped they were not locked in the car because my husband would have no way to bring me a key and so this scenario begins in my head about how he will be upset and what about dad and what about the frozen foods……
I arrive at the car only to discover with somewhat relief that indeed the keys were in the car and I had somehow managed to leave the door unlocked. So once I calmed myself down a bit and forgave myself for not taking the keys out and locking the door, I loaded the groceries in the back of the car and got in to pick up dad only to discover that not only did I leave the keys in the ignition with the car unlocked I had in fact also left it running. What? How? Why? I ran through my head the events leading up to this and I decided I was just too distracted. This was so out of my character. How could I have allowed this to happen? Only by the grace of God was my car even still in the parking lot.
Well, this got me thinking for sure and the Lord started showing me how we have become so distracted with the things of this world we have kind of left our Christianity on Auto-Pilot in hopes that it will still be there when we return. We go through the motions of our days often being distracted by this thing and then another until we are almost running around like chickens with our heads cut off. We are barely thinking straight and often allow the things of this world to upset us far more than we should.
When we finally do take a moment to come to our senses and spend some time focusing on the things of God we often discover the spirit part of our lives is often left to fend for itself. We find it hard to read the Word. We try to fit in a Bible Study when we can. Often we just don’t want to listen to Christian music and enter into His Presence.
BUT GUESS WHAT!!
God’s grace is there. He will keep us running. He will be still be there when our focus returns to Him and the distractions have gone away. When we face our fears and overcome our anxieties we once again realize that it was His grace the entire time that kept us safe. It is His Grace which keeps our spirit in perfect peace when chaos erupts around us. It is His Grace which keeps us safe even when great storms seem to separate us from seeing Him in a situation. It is His Grace that keeps us from falling apart at the seams when we are too distracted to notice. It is His Grace and Love which prevents us from ever getting to distracted to notice He loves us right where we are, lost or found
Dear Lord, Please help me to stay focused and not to be distracted by the things of this world. Keep me safe and headed in the right direction. I thank You for the peace which passes all understanding and I thank You for always loving me no matter where I have wandered. In Jesus Name Amen