What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do
God does extraordinary things in the lives of ordinary people who are willing to trust him with what they have.
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Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you just didn't know what to do? Maybe you had a big decision to make. Maybe you were faced with a major crisis. Maybe you had a wayward child. Maybe you did something stupid. Not only did you not know how you got into this mess, but you didn't know how to get out of it either.
I remember when I was 18, and I had just graduated from high school in my home state of New Jersey: home to Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi, by the way. My parents loaned me their white Ford Escort for a trip. It was their commuter car—fairly reliable, but not a luxury car by any standards. If I remember correctly, it had no air conditioning, and it was July. It was my first big trip; I wasn't in college yet, and I was headed to upstate New York. I was driving five hours to see an old friend, and the trip was wonderful.
It was the way back that was the problem. About one hour into the drive, on the New York State Thruway, my car died. I pulled over: I checked the water, checked the oil, all the things my dad taught me, but there were no clues. Does anyone remember life before cell phones? If you were stuck on a major highway, you had a few options: wait for a stranger to help you, wait for a police officer to see you, or find a way to get in touch with someone.
I saw a public school across the way. It was a Sunday, but I guessed that someone would be there. I crossed four lanes of traffic, hopped the median, crossed four more lanes, went down an embankment and over a chain link fence, crossed a field, and there was nobody there. But I found a public phone, and I talked to the local police station. Another problem, though: They asked me, "What milepost are you at?"
I said I knew which exits ...
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Jared E. Alcántara is an Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. His latest book is "Learning From a Legend: What Gardner C. Taylor Can Teach Us About Preaching." Follow him on Twitter @jaredealcantara.
Jared E. Alcántara: