Yesterday, I saw a piece of one's vivid imagination enter into my reality - unexpected, unwelcomed even. Have you ever seen the movie Final Destination? My guess is that you probably have, since it seemed to be such a hit that they made like five sequels to it. Well, in the movie the main characters get premonitions of horrible accidents that will take place in the future and kill masses of people as a result of it. They spend their time trying to escape their fate and trying to rescue others from the same. But the reason this movie came to mind recently is because of one of the scenes I remember watching many years ago when the original movie was released. In one of the scenes, there was this overly dramatic car crash that took place on a race track. The car rolled over an object in the road and apparently the driver lost control. It began swaying from side to side first and then toppled over several times, to the demise of many onlookers.
Now, I won't go into any further detail about the gruesome scene in the movie...it get's pretty bad so let's just stop there. But, could you imagine being in one of the cars in front of this madness? Seeing another car flip over several times in your rear-view mirror...coming right toward you? Not knowing if you will be crushed in the chaos? Realizing that there's at least one person in that car...maybe more? Realizing that, yes, this is really happening? Having to make a quick decision about what you need to do to escape your own death or demise? Having to take quick action while considering your safety and the safety of others on the road with you?
Well, this is the scene and situation that pried into my reality just yesterday as I was on my way to pick up my son from school. I didn't see what happened to cause this car to lose control, but I certainly saw its aftermath. A loud crash alerted me to the danger just behind me. I looked in my rear-view mirror. And as the pearl colored Cadillac directly behind me sped up fiercely after being hit...and the modest black car that hit it began flipping over in my direction...I had to take quick action in the midst of my alarm and unwelcomed distress. So I sped up and swerved my vehicle onto an embankment and, by the grace of God, to safety.
I stopped suddenly and in one quick motion opened the door and jumped out in panic. It took me a second to digest this. But in that split second of a moment God grounded me. I understood clearly why I was there, why it impacted me the way it did. I was sensitive and passionate. Sensitive to hurting people and passionate about comforting them. So, I jumped back in my car, turned off the ignition, said a quick prayer for God to cover me as I stepped out of my comfort zone and into faith, (made sure I had my keys), and got back out of the car. I was on a mission now. No longer a haphazard onlooker with mixed feelings about whether to engage or disengage. I was there to offer comfort in the midst of chaos. Ministry work that God has so graciously given me the heart and passion to do.
Though my anxiety was at its peak and my heart seemed to be pounding out of my chest, I knew I couldn't escape this reality. So, I called for help and headed straight for the black car that was turned up-side-down in the middle of the four-lane highway. Praying and walking, I watched as another servant with purpose helped pull this young man from his shell of a car and walk him to the grassy curbside to sit. He was the only one inside. Praying and walking, I watched as another servant with purpose collected the gentleman's dollar bills, loose change and other personal items scattered across the highway and place it beside the gentleman as he sat in utter shock. Relieved to see that others were there on a mission too - one that was different from mine - I felt released to focus on my own.
"It's ok, it's ok, you're alive, you're ok. Everything is going to be okay..." I said to the young man softly as I gently placed my hand on his back for reassurance. He was banged up and bloody, and obviously worried about how he would get out of this one with no money and no collision insurance. I understood that feeling of hopelessness very well. So as I talked to him with my mouth to bring comfort and peace, I was talking to God with my heart to ensure the channel of which God would use to encourage his heart was open for "Comfort" to flow freely through me. (This "Comfort" of course being the Holy Spirit!) The gentleman may never realize my mission in his life. I was only there with him for about 20 minutes max. Nothing compared to his 30 years of life. It is likely that he will never even see me again. But my hope is not that he remembers me. No. My purpose for engaging (and for sharing this) is far from self-serving. My hope is that he acknowledges God's presence and recalls peace after the storm. And my hope for you is that you are encouraged to let your passion lead you into your purpose.
I learned something yesterday.
God will always give us opportunities to serve others and glorify him by using the gifts and passions that he has given us individually. BUT, we must make a choice! Will we choose to ignore the invitations and become ineffectual bystanders lacking clear purpose? (I've been there.) Or will we choose to serve with passion and purpose, knowing that there are no accolades that come along with it, knowing that our service will not make us rich or famous, knowing that we might not even get a chance to see the fruit of our labor? We must have the courage of our convictions! Or as Joyce Meyers often puts it, we must "do it afraid."
I didn't know what I was going to do or say. And quite frankly, I would have been more comfortable not doing or saying anything. But the guilt that would have eaten at me for not pressing past my own fear and insecurity and choosing to act on the passion of my heart was not the emotional baggage I wanted to leave with. I don't know what impact my actions may have had in the grand scheme of things. But I trust that God does, and that I was simply a conduit of his peace in the midst of this traumatic and unwelcomed reality of the storm.
What is it that stirs you up with an intense desire to do something? Do you know what you are passionate about? Did you know that the passions of your heart were given to you by God? And just as the servants with purpose at the scene of this accident were all found helping in different capacities, God gives each of us passions for different things...yet they all work together for the greater good. So track those passions down and use them to discover your purpose. Then walk in it!
Scripture to Ponder
Philippians 2:13 (NLT): For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.