On this brisk, Friday morning, I looked across the lot of used cars for sale and noticed the ones that people had test-driven and somehow failed to park it as they found it. I know certain people hate parking and some of us are both better and worse than people we know and love and have ridden with at one time or another. But it wasn’t long before my automotive brain started working.
Parking is fundamental. A basic, yet vital task to master on the road to becoming a great driver. I don’t want to “offend” anyone who struggles in their parking skills, but the following thought occurred to me: if one struggles in maneuvering a vehicle at slow speeds, in an area of other objects, in an effort to bring the car to a safe place without doing harm to other vehicles, people, objects or the vehicle you are “in control” of, so that you can safely exit said vehicle; then, quite frankly, one might begin to worry about one’s ability to “control” a vehicle, at speed, on the open road or the highway…40, 60, 70+ miles per hour, surrounded by other vehicles, motorcycles, semi-trucks, teens, senior citizens, and the list of variations continue. But one can’t park that same vehicle between two lines, with enough room to get out of the vehicle and have it be out-of-the-way of getting hit, moving at speeds of single digit proportions. Weird. As much as there is an art to driving, there is an art to parking.
Safely manuever your way through this principle as it relates to your faith. We find ourselves cruising the open road of life, dealing with others’ crazy manuevers, trying to keep those in our life safe, not knowing who will come from where, unexpectedly at great speed. How is your alertness? Your reflexes? Your awareness of your surroundings? As I’m struggling through this thought process myself, here is what I am driving towards. The parking lot is safety. When I took my motorcycle class, we learned and had to perform tasks in the safety of a closed area. This allowed us to practice our skills until we had mastered the manuevers and challenges of riding a powered two-wheel vehicle. Why? So that we would be prepared when we rolled on the throttle onto the roadway.
Regardless of the situations and circumstances of life and the “he said, she said” and “who’s fault” is what and all the explaining that we attempt to accomplish, I am convinced that some and perhaps a majority of what we go through, we struggle with because we were not prepared. We did not think through the “what if’s” and practice the “what happens when” moments. Suddenly, life is upon us and important factors must be taken into account. Quick and decisive manuevers need to be planned and executed in a moments notice. If only we thought through our actions…and our responses. If only we checked our attitudes with God before we displayed them on grounds. So often we are reminded that we have an active faith and that we are to live that out, each and every day. And I agree.
However, faith is line upon line, precept upon precept. Becoming great on the road of your faith means becoming a master of your faith skills in the safety zone. When was the last time you parked your faith? These are the behind the scenes moments. Open miracles because of closet prayers. A move of God in your community because of a move of God in your home. A changed family because of a changed parent or child. A great and active and influential church because of an active and involved pastor who humbly cared enough to have a heart for the things of God instead of man and/or self. A city turned around because the mayor turned his heart toward God. Wow.
I love driving. I even have fun parking. And driving empty parking lots, especially with snow on the ground, is pure joy! As much as being faithful in the little things will lead to faithfulness in the big things, so will being a master in the little things foster the skills required to be a master of great things. In order to have a great and effective faith, it needs to be developed where it counts. That environment used to be in the home and the church. Unfortunately, with so many exerting their right to stand their ground, many have misplaced their ground…and lost touch. In the coming out and being open with our lives, now very little is sacred. Very little is private. Very few have true “parking lots”. In the Bible, they were called “wilderness moments”. They lasted days, months, years and even decades. And time and after time, God performed His best work through great men…men and woman who spent more time parking their faith than living it. In the end, they lived their faith louder than most of us could ever imagine. I imagine that if there were automobiles in the Bible, there would have been some phenomenal drivers…for “narrow is the way which leads to life and few there be that find it”. – Matt 7:14