Usually when you miss an exit that takes you 20 miles in the opposite direction, you want to let a couple ‘F’ bombs fly, if you’re not Christian of course. Ha! Can you sense my sarcasm?
This exit however didn’t just consist of me heading in the wrong direction, but I was going no where fast while riding along side a friend who most likely wished he could push me out of the car and get away with it.
Granted, I’m being a little dramatic here, but I’m assuming you can get my drift.
We had already been driving two hours together in silence. Well, silence from one another, but I’m pretty sure the music was blasting. We switched back and forth between his Christian rock and my Christian “Sunday morning” worship.
I tried not to wipe my tears, while still holding onto the steering wheel to get us home safely.
We were both in two different places. Sometimes the places you’re in, neither of you can understand because of how much depth of sorrow, chaos, frustration and defeat you may be in.
Even though we both were in two different places, Jesus was still there with us. It was just hard for both of us to see each other clearly in our separate pains, despite His presence.
I couldn’t be strong for my friend when he was feeling weak and he couldn’t be strong for me either then.
What do you do when you’re both defeated and have no where to run?
You run to Jesus. Hence the blasting Lecrae music all the way home.
I was frustrated. Upset. Once angry, but mostly upset that he couldn’t understand what I was going through. I could see that him and I were both running to Jesus in this time, but then how come nothing was being resolved?
My tears must have blinded my vision because I missed the exit, and I heard a huge sigh of annoyance come from my right.
“No!!”, I thought. “I messed up even more! This sucks! I want to get out of this van!”
I don’t know how long it took to drive 20 miles in the opposite direction, but it definitely felt like forever.
When we started heading back in the right direction, I gave up. I couldn’t submit to this torture. I felt like I was driving for eternity in a prison cell.
“God! What should I do?!”
“Praise me!” God says.
I started to worship Jesus silently in the car. I started to pray. I pressed in to Christ and I delighted in Him in that prison cell. I was a foot away from my enemy, yet something amazing happened. I had extreme joy and peace inside of me. I was filled up with hope and light. I was happy. Even though I could feel his hatred towards me, I was happy because I was delighting in Christ. I started to pray for him and thank God for him. I started to pray that he would be healed of all things hurting him, and I started to see him more clearly in that moment.
I was so broken it was hard to hear him in his short temper and coldness, but I could see him again.
I was trying to learn to love, and the Lord taught me that everything broken or hard can be healed by the love of Jesus. Everything can be healed if we come and praise the Father and pray for our brothers and sisters.
When my friend and I reached our destination, I’m pretty sure he tried to jump out of the car before I even stopped it. I asked him quickly if I could pray for him first. He allowed me to. Praise the Lord!
I started to pray for him and started to cry. I didn’t mean to hurt him, but his anger had hurt me too, even though he may not have realized it.
Our friendship was restored! The prison walls fell down and we were set free!
Just like Paul opened up the gates in prison by worshiping Jesus, my worship in that car broke down the prison gates on our friendship that day. (Acts 16:16-40)
Even though I wish those prison bars had never come up, I don’t regret them forming. It taught me that we all have stories that neither of us truly know and understand. Sometimes, God doesn’t even allow us to understand and know them. At the end of the day, it’s never about how much we know. It’s always been about how much we choose to love.
So even when it gets bad and all hope is gone. Even when you miss your exit and wish you could let some ‘F’ bombs fly, but can’t, because your Christian. Even then, God is still there and will make everything work out for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)