It was gone ten in the evening when I arrived home last Friday after a long week working away in Ireland. Ten audits and two meetings jammed into the week meant fourteen-hour days, plus travel, and attempting to sleep in four different hotels. Many people would have headed straight for bed at that time of night and after such a busy week. I didn’t. There were two reasons. One I wanted to unwind in the company of my wife, and secondly if I don’t unwind after a business trip I don’t sleep no matter how tired I might be.
Ninety minutes later, and just as Marilyn and I were about to climb the stairs to bed, our daughter Beth called to seek advice. She was at the end of an even busier time than me having spent a fortnight on mission in Cambridge with the Youth for Christ (YFC) Nomad cage football team she is part of this year. They had hit the road rather late after the final event of the fortnight in which they and the YFC street dance team (Stance) had been extravagantly blessed to see 250 young people in attendance. They now faced several problems. They were a long way from their home bases in Lichfield and Birmingham, and they were unfamiliar with the roads around Cambridge. To add to their navigational woes the local authority had closed several major routes around the city that night to carry out repairs.
Speaking to Beth and then her team leader I discovered that because of the road closures they had ended up driving around in circles and could not find a way out of the city. I fired up my laptop and checked the BBC travel webpage, then used the TomTom route planning website to find Nomad and Stance a viable route out of Cambridge and back to the Midlands. I took screen shots of the route and emailed them to Beth’s iPhone. Three hours later both teams were safely back in their various host homes.
The dilemma faced by Nomad and Stance is one that we all face when we find ourselves driving around in circles going nowhere fast. Sometimes this happens as part of our daily or weekly routine. At other times it happens after we find ourselves feeling flushed with success after a time of incredible blessing. Thinking about my late night call from Beth I felt honoured as her father that she had called needing help, that she trusted me to provide that help, and that I was able to help. But when I apply the same principle to my Christian life I find that there are many times when I seem to end up driving around in circles and never ask for help. And yet the Father of Jesus is always waiting for my call. He never sleeps and is never more than a prayer away. He sees my predicaments and He is honoured when I call for help. How about you? How often do you forget to call the Father?
I look up to the mountains – does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.
The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. (Psalm 121 NLT)