Car 54, where are you?
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I lost my car in Brooklyn. It’s not a long story: I forgot where I parked it.
“I could have sworn” (a sentence-starter that gets a workout nowadays) it was on Prospect Place between Franklin and Bedford. But when I arrived in the general vicinity a half mile or so from my daughter’s brownstone, as hard as hope tried to conjure a Pennsylvania plate in the chorus line of gold New York tags, there was none.
I wasn’t as freaked out as you might think: Though I had amnesia of where I did park, I was more certain of where I didn’t park. There was a flashback of it being north and east of the address I have become skilled in orbiting in tight circles till I snag the spot most plausibly walkable with a suitcase and carry bag. Daunting infinity was nicely shrunk to a manageable city square of two or three blocks.
I am done with piddling faith. I am going to live like He’s the sovereign Lord or I am not.
I had to expand that targeted search as minutes of fruitless Malibu-hunting stretched into an hour, then two. Further precious time was forfeited by making second and third passes over ground I had thoroughly scoured before—as when you start by looking for your keys in the most likely places, then under duress abandon all logic and start looking in the unlikely places, like the refrigerator.
At some point my daughter joined the expedition, inquiring about my license plate. That particular combination of letters and numbers I could not recall with sufficient exactness, even though I had long ago devised a mnemonic device for this purpose, a technique that had served well enough for mastering sheets of Greek vocabulary in seminary days.
The mnemonic device was “Jesus Will Reign.” Or something like that. Hmm. Maybe “God Reigns Forever.” And the cue for the digits was the ages of two of my children, though I was not now sure which two, and whether the numbers were old ages or current ages.
(I here cut to the chase, out of respect for the reader, then circle back to the important part.)
A lightbulb in my head told me to phone my husband. He could pull the insurance file for the photo of the back of my car, snapped at an E-ZPass toll booth I accidentally went through and got fined for. The plate inscription thus retrieved (the mnemonic device, turns out, was “Love Christ Forever”), my daughter checked to see if my vehicle had been towed. It had not.
That trail cold, she sagely decided there was nothing for it but to call 911 and report a stolen vehicle (a theory I was by now leaning toward anyway)—surely the best way to locate a missing vehicle. Still slowly cruising the streets, she spotted the prodigal out-of-state wheels the same time the cops did. Praise the Lord!
Trouble is (now for the important part), though I had prayed with my husband during our brief phone contact, I had not told my daughter we prayed, just in case we didn’t find the car and God seemed to have failed—to say nothing of my own shame. Once the car was recovered, it seemed lame to boast after the fact in having prayed, so I did not.
But I made a decision in the aftermath, which I plan to keep forever. I am done with piddling faith. Either God is the Living God or He is not. Either I am going to live like He’s the sovereign Lord or I am not. In future dire circumstances I will never again hold back from praying boldly before an unbeliever. What God does with the outcome is His business and not mine. He can defend His own name without my help. He says, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again” (John 12:28).
We now enter 2021. You’re either all in or you’re out. Mark the date: From this time forward, I’m all in.
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