By Trevor DeVage
A few months ago I had the privilege of being in Phoenix with some incredible leaders from around the country. My travel during that week was an adventure in the worst and greatest sense of the word.
Making My Plans
It started with major flight issues at the beginning of the week. Three delays, two changed flights, one missed flight, and seven hours of total air time made for a very long day, but I made it safely nonetheless. I drug myself off the plane and hopped on a shuttle to the rental car building that seemed to be another flight away. When I arrived at the rental car aisle and jumped into my car, there was a warning light on the dash telling me that the tire pressure was low on one of the tires of my rockin’ Jeep Compass. I mentioned it to the agent, but she assured me that it was fine and that they had just not reset the light. I was suspect of her retort, but I was tired and simply wanted to eat and sleep.
Off I went, across the metropolis of Phoenix, moving at a snail’s pace in rush-hour traffic. At one point I noticed we were moving so slowly that a man actually had time to get out of his truck and mess with something on his tailgate and then get back in before traffic moved. Finally I made it to my hotel, ate a quick bite, and was in bed by 8:30.
The next day was full of great people and long journeys. I took a jaunt across the city to meet a ministry friend for lunch. I drove a 100-mile round trip at an average speed of 70 mph. You may be wondering what that has to do with anything. Actually, it has a lot to do with everything.
All was well, but that little light kept staring me in the face with every passing mile. Eventually I found myself not worried about the impending warning that kept glaring at me as the odometer ticked by. Life is funny that way, isn’t it? One moment you can see the glaring warning lights of life looking you in the face, and then somewhere along the line you get used to them—and eventually ignore them. My little vehicle was nothing to look at, but she was starting to grow on me as we got more acquainted with each other.
For dinner I met up with two more friends. We had a great time catching up and making our plans for the next few days.
Change in Direction
After dinner I was supposed to catch up with one more ministry friend before I would be off the grid and in meetings for the rest of the week. I was bopping along down the interstate, and traffic was flowing like my cup of morning coffee—fast and hot. I was singing at the top of my lungs to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” (Don’t hate—you do it too!) Ironically it was about to become my anthem. As I was screaming the lyrics, “. . . GETTING DOWN TO THIS . . . SICK . . . BEAT!” it happened—BOOM! It sounded like the front of the vehicle exploded.
The steering wheel turned hard to the right, and I was hanging on for dear life. I could hear grinding, and I could see sparks flying into the darkness behind me. I managed to get the car under control and crossed three lanes of impending doom to get to the shoulder, reminiscent of the video game Frogger. Immediately I knew what had happened. For the next minute I stared at that little tire pressure light glaring back at me. It was as if it was saying, “I told you so.”
I didn’t even bother to get out of the car. I simply picked up my cell phone and called the rental car number. I shared my own “I told you so’s” and then asked what they would have me to do. I had somewhere to be, and this vehicle was not getting me there. After a few moments of on-hold music—which was not nearly as catchy as good ole TSwift reminding me to “Shake It Off”—the agent came back on and told me that if I could get a ride, then I should take the keys to the car, gather my things, leave the doors unlocked, and they would bring me a new car later in the evening wherever I needed it. I gathered my belongings and sat and waited as large metal people carriers whipped past me over and over.
As I was waiting, a man pulled up behind me. I thought he was stopping to help, but when he got out he informed me that he had just run out of gas and would be right back. For some reason exit 73 was a popular spot. It looked more like a metal graveyard than an exit on the freeway. My ride showed up and off I went. I hope that guy got his gas because the shoulder was getting crowded.
Normally this whole situation would have caused me distress. Normally I would have been hacked off that it disrupted my life and schedule. Normally I would have been thrown into a tailspin. However, for some reason I allowed this disruption to simply change my direction. I figured that since I had just preached about that very thing a day prior, maybe I should see where this new direction would lead me.
The rest of my night went off without a hitch. I spent time with an incredible friend and left highly encouraged. By the time I got back to my hotel, the keys to my new rental car were waiting for me at the front desk. In fact, they upgraded me to a really nice SUV for the rest of my trip. It seemed as if the disruption had actually led to something better.
Available for Disruption
God has been showing me a lot lately that we need to be more available for disruption. Our disruptions really do determine our direction. We can see them as blowouts that completely derail us, or we can see them as God moving us in a new direction. Maybe there was something happening upstream in our lives from which God was protecting us, or maybe we were moving in a direction that was not where he wanted us to go. Remember that little indicator light? It was warning me for two days that something was wrong. It was telling me that if I kept moving on with this course of action, something bad was going to happen.
What if the tire blowout that day had happened when traffic was heavier and there were big rigs all around me? What if it had occurred while I was in a big curve on the highway and the car flipped? The blowout could have been a lot worse than it was. Sometimes our blowouts in life are to move us right where God wants us to be.
So what do you do when your life has a blowout?
• Maybe the job is not what you thought.
• Maybe the relationship has not worked out.
• Maybe the friendship has ended.
• Maybe the kid rebelled.
• Maybe the prognosis is not what you wanted.
• Maybe the loved one was taken too early.
What do we do when life has seemingly blown up and now our direction has changed? We can either sit in the front seat as the rest of life goes whipping by us and hope that help comes, or we can grab our belongings, call a friend, and move in the new direction.
At the onset it is scary. You are holding the wheel of your life, just trying to get out of harm’s way. But once you are safe and realize that life is not over yet, maybe, just maybe, God is going to put you in an even better season of life than you could have ever imagined. Stay alert and allow the disruptions to move you in the new direction that God has for you.
Trevor DeVage is the lead pastor at Christ’s Church at Mason in Mason, Ohio (trevordevage.com).