Thursday, December 2, 2010

Have You Checked Your Oil Lately?

Brussels has been snowed in these days. It's not so common in Belgium to get snow, and maybe that's why most people never clear the walkways in front of their houses. This has made it rather dangerous to get from my place to the metro station, but so far I have only almost slipped!

This coming weekend, I will be in the Black Forest to attend a board meeting of this German ministry I've been working with. I'll be taking the train tomorrow early in the morning and arrive there by 3 in the afternoon. We will be spending the Sabbath together, have our meeting on Sunday, and Monday morning I'll be traveling back. I look forward to this special weekend, I just hope everything is going to work out with the journey.

Below is a little article about an experience that I wanted to share with you. It's almost three years ago that I had to go through a rather precarious situation. I had just finished my Lifestyle Counselor course at Uchee Pines and was going to stay there as volunteer for a few more months. During the Christmas break, I decided to attend the GYC conference in Minneapolis and make some visits. I flew there from Atlanta, leaving my car at the airport. After the conference and a short visit with friends in Pennsylvania, I arrived back in Atlanta to drive up north. My plan was to stop at Wildwood for a couple of days and then finally visit friends in Tennessee before returning to Uchee. Well, what happened on this trip is related in this article. It has been published in a women's devotional, which is an initiative of the Women's Ministries department of the General Conference. They published my first devotional in 2006. After this, I thought this was the end of my inspiration, but there was still more to come. For this one, I have to give credit to my friend Mark Ehrlich from Virginia, as he really did a great job editing it. It still gives me cold chills when I recall this experience...

"It was on a cold December evening that I drove from Atlanta Airport north on Interstate 75. It had just turned dark when I realized that there was something wrong with the car. It made a rattling noise whenever I pushed the accelerator. Then I saw the "Check Gauge" warning appear on the panel. Since I was already late for my appointment, I chose to ignore the warning, not wanting to admit that I might have bigger problems ahead. Sure enough, as I drove on the noise became louder and louder. All of a sudden, the oil gauge plummeted to zero and my engine broke down.
     Now I had no choice other than to park on the shoulder. It didn't take me too long to realize that I could be in serious trouble, and immediately some disconcerting thoughts flooded my mind. Here I was, a woman, all by myself on this freeway in a foreign country. It was dark and I didn't even have a cell phone on me. I knew I had to do something so I started waving to the cars flying by at 70-plus miles (113 kilometers) per hour. Not too long after, a friendly couple, followed by a truck driver, stopped in response to my frantic gestures to check if I was OK and to inspect my car. It was determined that my car would have to stay, but by God's providence the truck driver was heading to Nashville, Tennessee, and my destination was on his way! So he gave me a ride and dropped me off exactly where I needed to go.
     I later found out that I had been driving a car that had not had any oil, thus ruining the engine. The oil gauge was broken and erroneously indicated that there was plenty of oil!
     This incident reminded me of the parable of the 10 virgins told by Jesus. Like the five foolish virgins, I failed to ensure I had enough oil; I believed I had enough. In the same way, Satan likes to deceive us into thinking that we are doing just fine and don't need to grow in our daily walk with Jesus. The five wise virgins knew the source of their supply and ensured they had enough oil. Through daily prayer and Bible study we also can be filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit. Praise the Lord - through Him we can overcome sin. I don't want to play the foolish virgin again. What about you?"

("Love Out Loud", Review and Herald 2010)

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