I traveled to the hills of Virginia last week. I traveled alone. I had never been there before. I knew I would be arriving at my destination after dark. I also knew that I would lose cell service in the mountains and would not be able to use my phone--for anything. I printed out directions from Map Quest before I left so I would be able to continue to find my way even after my cell service was interrupted. I was prepared. But as it got darker and darker and the roads got more and more curvy, I began to picture myself farther from home, less prepared and less able to ascertain my whereabouts. I was about 15 miles from my destination when my cell phone beeped and the screen read "no service." With a little apprehension and a lot of self-talk, I picked up the paper with the directions on it. I had to turn on the overhead light to read the directions because it was so dark. All I could do was follow the road and pray that the paper was right. If it wasn't, there was no way to call anyone.
I traveled on for about 13 miles and saw a sign that said I had arrived in the right town. That, at least, was comforting. However, there were very few cars, very few road markers, and no street lights. I was beginning to feel like the smallest speck of the Universe at that moment. The darkness seemed to smother me as I inched along the road wondering how I would find my next turn. Far off in the distance I saw what I thought was a traffic light. "Maybe that is where I'm supposed to turn", I thought. As I approached the intersection, still not able to find or read a street sign, my phone lit up on the car seat like a beacon. The familiar voice of "Gabby", my GPS was both surprising and amazing. "Turn left of Edgewater Drive," she spoke, and promptly the cell phone turned dark with no further service of any kind for three days.
It was almost eerie--yet really powerful! I looked heavenward for a moment and just said under my breath, "Really?" "Thank you God!" "I'm not a speck to you!"
I love to retell the story of Gabby coming to the rescue! It is one of those surreal moments in life when it works just right for no apparent reason. But what makes it even sweeter to me is that I am reminded of the love and care of a Good, Good Father who continually knows all about me and is there to help no matter how dark the night, no matter how much I have lost my way, or no matter how frightened I may be. He is always there, sometimes in ways that are subtle, sometimes in ways that are bold. His kindness over me is humbling and beautiful. ....He is for me!
Father, thank you for guiding me no matter where I am. Thank you for never losing track of me. Thank you that your thoughts are always with me and that you will make a way for me. Thank you that you bring your love for me so close and so real. When all else fades away, You still remain! I am never lost to You!
Shelley Lopez, Executive Director
Shelley has been a member of the Springfield community for 29 years. As she lives and works and worships in the city, she uses the metaphor of an old Victorian house restoration to keep her focused on the work she is called to do. Inspired by the words of the prophet Isaiah, she pours herself into "restoring old ruins, rebuilding and renovating, making the community livable again" (Is. 58:12 MSG)