When I was a kid, whenever my dad would drive our family to a distant destination, before he pulled into a relative’s driveway or a camping spot for the night, he would find a gas station and top off his gas tank. As an impatient and tired kid, that seemed like a waste of time. It was only later as an adult that I learned the importance of his decision. If an emergency took place during the night, he could get his family out safely while others were still looking for a place to fill up. Responsible parents prepare and protect. To this day, I continue to follow my father’s example.
Yesterday, I went into town to top off my pickup just in case we needed to evacuate because of the wildfires. I still had over half a tank left, and that could take us a long way, but I wanted to be full just in case. When I got to the gas station, cars were lined up 10-15 deep for each pump. I turned around and went back home. Later in the day, I noticed the station was closed. They were out of gas.
Today, I rode my bicycle into town and, along the way, I stopped to ask the station attendant when gas would be available. He was not sure. He said other gas stations in the vicinity were also out of gas due to the need created by the wildfires and evacuation preparation. I’m glad I can still hear my father’s voice about being prepared and had enough gas to make it somewhere if an unexpected evacuation were to take place during the night.
There are times when some of us run our lives too close to empty, emotionally, and spiritually. We seem to get by on vapors until a real life-emergency comes, and we have nothing left to offer ourselves or anyone else who might depend on our personal preparation.
The circumstances of your life may have drained your tank. Before you get into a situation that requires enough soul fuel to get you out of a personal danger zone, stop and take time to refill. This refilling can take on various forms. It might be a moment of pause to appreciate the dawn of a new day or being awakened at night and stepping outside to ponder the expanse of space. A favorite verse of Scripture spoken out loud in the middle of a stressful situation can displace fear. At times it is looking into the eyes of someone you love and lingering just a moment longer to see what a hurried life can miss.
We can run on empty and even get away with it for a while, but eventually, we will become stranded in disappointment and disillusionment. Take time to fill your life with goodness and hope each day, and when the time comes, you will be able to get out of danger – something a drained and stranded life will not be able to experience.