Drives in Quarantine
by Chris Rader
Getting your driver’s license in the 70’s was all about dreaming of your first car, and in the 70’s it was all about the muscle cars! The Oldsmobile 442. The Dodge Challenger. The Plymouth Roadrunner with the high spoiler. The difference between 1969 and the 1973 Camaro with the round tail lights. The dream car for all of us was still the Corvette, of which none of us ever expected to own.
The very first muscle car that I had the pleasure of driving was a 1975 Pontiac Trans Am, 455 cu in. It was white with the large blue Phoenix on the hood. I was 15 years old and at a wedding, when the owner, a friend of the family asked me if I would mind pulling his car around front for him after the wedding. …mind?! Are you kidding me! In the moment, my desire to drive the car far outweighed any fear I might have driving this pristine, fuel-injected, monster of a car through a very packed hotel parking lot.
The engine growled at the turn of the key and the tach pointed out just how heavy my foot was resting on the gas pedal. I could see the gas gauge visibly moving down. …that’s weird! As I backed the car out of a tight parking space, I was filled with emotions. This is cool! …I’m cool! Never getting out of first gear and too afraid to tap the gas, I meandered through the narrow parking lot lanes towards the front of the hotel. My expressions of “cool” began to turn to dread as I realized the gravity of the situation. …What am I doing? I am only 15 years old! I don’t have a license much less car insurance!…What if someone hits me? What if I hit that ’65 Plymouth sticking to far out of its space?
For that day, I was glad that my desire to drive the car far outweighed my fear!
Fear and Desire motivate us to do, or not do, many things in our lives, impacting the decisions we make on a daily basis. Fear pushes us towards paranoia, envy, bitterness, self-consciousness, insecurity, etc. Desire on the other draws us towards graciousness, gratitude, joy, happiness, confidence and contentment to name a few.
As I look back fondly at that moment in the parking lot, I realize that I would not have trusted me with that car! Yet, the owner of the car, knew I was only 15 and that I did not have any insurance, and yet he still trusted me with this beautiful and powerful machine. It was his belief and trust in me, and I would dare say the love he had always expressed to myself and my family that allowed me to overcome the fear. It is the expression of love towards us that helps us overcome our fear.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear; because fear has torment. He that fears, is not made perfect in love.”
1 John 4:18
I recognize that I am a work-in-progress, that my love for God is not perfect, and that I do let fear creep into my life and cause me to make decisions that steer me away from the With God Life that God has for me. I allow fear to push me from behind. Every day I have to choose love, and allow myself to be drawn by the desire to follow God, which leads to a life with God in the picture.
We have all had to make adjustments in our lives recently. I don’t know about you, but I find myself struggling trying to navigate the obstacles in this new reality of COVID. I want to make wise decisions out of caution, but also not wanting to cross the line into making decisions based on fear.
Which may lead to Quarantine Fatigue and it may have already set in for most of us. As COVID Care funds are exhausted, concern over lost wages have now turned into fear of the future. Concern over a shortage of toilet paper is now turning towards the fear of a pending food crisis. Concern over missing high-school graduation has turned into fear of not being able to attend college in the fall. Watching any of the “news” can make us feel justified in moving from concern to fear.
“For God did not give us a spirit of fear (dread), but of (explosive) power, (agape) love, and a sound mind (of discipline).”
2 Timothy 1:7
I have to keep reminding myself that the fear welling up inside of me is not from God. Keeping his eyes on Jesus kept Peter from sinking as he stepped out of the boat which enabled him to walk on water. Keeping my eyes on Jesus will keep me out of the sea of fear, and in the sea of life that flows out of God’s love. We live in challenging times, and yes, caution is appropriate. One day, COVID will end and be a distant memory. But if I allow it, the fear will continue on.
“…in this world, you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
God does not promise to remove all the trials ahead of us. But he does promise to be with us always, and to help us navigate them. In fact, He tells us to expect trials and that we will be okay. He is already on the other side of all my trials holding the future in His hand. I can face the hardest of times, knowing that I am not alone.
“I am for you.” Romans 8:31
Have you seen the new mid-engine Corvette? Although I still doubt I would ever own a corvette, I have a desire to drive one. Yet the idea of the engine behind me, pushing me, pushes me beyond desire towards fear. However, a 1963 split-window Corvette with the engine in the front (where it is supposed to be), is drawing me towards desire. So, if you own either of these Corvettes and would like to help me over come this fear, or satisfy my desire, give me a call! I know a place we can drive to (out of town of course) where we can get take-out BBQ. I’ll buy! …you should probably call me sooner than later, as I’m afraid that BBQ may become as scarce as TP!
Pastor Chris Rader has been quietly managing the Care Ministries at Journey Community Church since 2010.