Driving home from North Carolina, I was exhausted, but optimistic about getting home on time after the long, nine-hour drive. Home was only three more hours away. It’d be dark before I arrived, but familiar roads were just past Memphis, which was only one hour away.
Wet drops hit the windshield. I raised the sun visor to discover the sun slipping behind gloomy clouds. The sprinkling escalated to a downpour and the dark clouds blackened. The only glimpses of the road were when lightning struck too close for comfort.
Gripping the steering wheel tighter, I slowed to a crawl. Thoughts of semi-trucks plowing over me clouded my ability to think. I jerked into the next lane to avoid rear-ending another frightened traveler going slower than me. Just as panic set in, a small flicker of light appeared in the distance. I followed the light, veering off at the next exit and crossing the overpass.
A lone service station’s lights illuminated the entire hill. I parked under the gas pump awning and drew a breath of relief. However, the reprieve lasted only a few minutes. Other travelers crowded in for cover, and I reluctantly gave up my spot to those needing fuel.
My phone’s weather application showed the location as a pinpoint green spot surrounded by yellow and red. But, I really wanted to get to familiar territory before nightfall, so hoping the storm would dissipate, I headed out again. Six exits and two near accidents later, reality set in. I exited off and found a hotel for the night. The bright lights over the service desk and a nice gentleman with a sympathetic smile greeted me. I was safe.
My trip didn’t go as planned. The unexpected storm encompassed me with dangerous obstacles. Night came too fast. Like the pickup on the side of the road with its emergency blinkers flashing, I succumbed to the elements. Just like the spinning sports car in the middle of the highway had. Like the semi-trucks forging forward, I was headed for destruction. Until the light gave me hope.
While the tempest still raged outside, I was safely tucked in waiting for the storm to pass and morning to break. I worried about the pickup, and the vehicle spinning out of control. Did those travelers find refuge?
I’m thankful the light showed me the way. I wished that when I first saw it, I hadn’t refused its safety.
“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.’” John 8: 12 NLT