Lockdowns and Empty Tanks

“Sorry ma’am. But you can’t leave. We’re on lockdown.” After traveling to Fort Worth to view an art exhibit called “From Heaven to Earth,” these words seemed out of place. But I did as I was told and took a seat in the common area. After texting my husband not to worry if he happened to hear something about a lockdown, I busied myself with my planner. A phone call to change an appointment time. A follow up comment on a school assignment. A review of my script for a church production. Business as usual.


Unlike earlier that morning.


As my son and I moved toward the garage, I slapped my hand to my forehead—remembering the low gas light which showed up the night before. Too late for that, I thought, as we pulled out of the driveway and on to pick up a neighbor. Heart racing, concern building, I worried what might happen if I ran out of gas in the already congested carline.


Until—the Holy Spirit prompted a question. What’s the worst that could happen if you run out of gas? I chuckled. What would happen? My internal response surprised me. Gobs of grace. That’s what would happen. God would somehow use it as an opportunity for others to show kindness or practice grace. I would be humbled and helped.


Peter talks about worries. His epistle of hope is written to a group of scattered believers who have experienced persecution because of their faith in Christ. Perhaps they were playing the “what if” game. Maybe their heads were filled with worries, too.


In 1 Peter 5:6–7, the apostle writes, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”


My youngest is struggling with worry right now. During the early hours of the morning, he finds a way to squeeze between my husband and me in bed. Though we tell him he is safe and loved and God is always with him, he needs the physical assurance of our presence. His worries are just too big for him to handle alone.


None of us can handle our worries on our own. But what I tell my son is not a platitude. It is a glorious reality. God is always with us and he calls us to cast our anxieties on him because he cares—for us.


The lockdown ended up being a case of mistaken identity—camera equipment resembling a rifle— and was lifted in under an hour. I was never in danger. But I won’t forget the lesson I learned that day, bookended by a nearly-empty gas tank and a lockdown. I can give God every worry, care, and anxiety. He cares for me. And he cares for you, too.





Published: Nov 27, 2022


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