Tow Truck

I saw a car getting towed today. Somehow I ended up behind the tow truck, which was driving 15 miles an hour in a 35 zone. The car was turned around, facing me, with its rear tires up on the tow truck and no one inside. It was parked in a lot that it shouldn’t have been parked in. I’m pretty sure it was a Ford.

At first I was a little angry with the driver of the tow truck, because he was going so slow. And what kind of job is that anyway, taking people’s cars from them? He should be ashamed of himself, I thought. I didn’t know the owner of the car, but for some reason I felt sorry for them. I pictured the expression on their face, when they walked out and realized the tow truck man had come by, laughing and puffing his cigarettes as he pulled out in front of other people and made them late for work.

I wondered where that car was going, with no one inside. I figured it had to be a pretty horrible place, since the car was turned backwards, kind of like how people in the movies wear blind folds before they’re taken out back and killed. As I turned into work, the truck kept going, towards downtown. That meant one thing: impound lot. Nothing good happens downtown.

The impound lot is a scary place. It’s full of rusted doors and flat tires, and people who only accept cash. Essentially, it’s prison for cars, except there’s no food or weightlifting equipment. I knew the Ford that stared me down for 3 miles wouldn’t last long in prison. It was an awkward shade of blue, the kind of shade of blue that no one likes, especially not the gangs in car prison.

And then I began to think about my story. I began to wonder how so many of us end up in the impound lot. How do we end up in the places that we don’t want to be? Places we never dreamed we would go. Places full of rust and decay and chain link fences too tall to climb. I think it has a lot to do with our driving.

I’m sure the owner of that Ford was pretty angry when they realized their car was gone. He or she probably yelled and shouted and blamed the government. Maybe they said something like, “It’s not fair! I was only here for two minutes!” or made derogatory comments towards the tow trucking industry. But when you think about it, the only one to blame is the driver. The person at fault is the one behind the wheel, the one who parked where they didn’t belong. There were signs all over the parking lot, after all.

But it’s easier to blame other people than to blame ourselves. It’s even easier to blame God. It’s easy to start to view God as a tow truck driver, smoking cigarettes and yelling “I told you so” out the window. But I’m starting to realize that our journey into these places we don’t want to go, these prisons that we can’t seem get out of, begins with our own bad driving habits. See, when we’re in control of the wheel, we tend to ignore certain signs. We ignore warnings that say we shouldn’t go here, or park there. And before long, we create these ruts, these paths that our tires can’t get out of. We keep driving, stopping by the places that we’ve always stopped by, parking in lots where we don’t belong. And after we’ve been in the wrong spots for long enough, we look up and see all the fences and barbed wire, and wonder how we’ll ever get out.

The good news is, God’s not a tow truck driver. He’s not an “I told you so” kind of God, and I highly doubt He smokes cigarettes. Even though we were behind the wheel and ignored all the signs and warnings, God doesn’t leave us in the impound lot. The truth is this; we serve a God who carries cash. He’s always looking for us, hoping we’ll ask Him to bail us out, to free us from the prisons we’ve created. And that’s all we have to do, just ask. All we have to do is let go of the wheel and let Him take control, let Him take us down a new path, to the places where we belong.

No matter how bad our driving has been, or what kind of lots we’ve sat in for too long, God’s dream is freedom for us. But freedom can’t begin until we realize that we’re terrible drivers. We can’t break free from the fences and ruts until we stop blaming everybody else and decide to give up control. Our bail has already been paid. God carries cash. We are free to go if we really want to.

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Categories: I Digress

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