As I drive past the family whose car has broken down in the grassy median of the highway—noticing two wiggly toddlers just one dash away from disaster—the words I've always told my own children, while traveling, echo in my ears: "We're not going to stop for this healthy-looking, able-bodied man who's standing beside his so-called 'broken down vehicle,' kids. But of course we would stop if it were an old granny, or a teenage girl, or a friend who uses a wheelchair, or . . ." (I can get really creative when trying to beef up the list of imaginary people I'd, theoretically, stop to help.)
The convenient words now mock me as I pass this vulnerable little family beside the heavily traversed interstate. I feel the gentle nudge of God's often-inconvenient Spirit tapping my shoulder as if to say, You're driving home from work alone in a car with two empty toddler car seats in the back. Doesn't it sort of seem like this one has your name on it, girl?
In my heart, I grudgingly mutter, Yeah. I guess. Whatever. Fine. I'll turn the stupid car around at the next stupid exit.
I wish I were like one of those biblical cool kids—Samuel hearing God's voice in the temple or Mary agreeing with the angel Gabriel to do something her community was certain to find horribly shameful. I wish I were like these God-followers who seem so ready to respond to God on a dime. Slow to listen and sluggish of heart, however, I'm not. I'm clearly not.1