Last week I told you the story of a traumatic experience I suffered in a car wreck. Lately, that ordeal has flashed through my mind a lot. Specifically, the part when I cried out, “God, Please Help Me!” This moment happened in the aftermath of an accident that trapped me inside a burning vehicle. My car was teetering on the embankment of a ravine. And, I couldn’t get out.
I was in the very back of that Volvo wagon the moment I realized I was trapped. The locks were frozen, shut down from the hit to the engine. They wouldn’t open. After I tried every door, I realized I was trapped. In that moment, my resources were exhausted. My body and mind exhaled the fear and frustration as I sat back on my feet, stared at my cell phone in a dissociated daze, then did the only thing left to do. I cried out, “God, please help me! I don’t know what to do.” Recently, I felt the same feelings I had in the back of that smoky wagon when my life was hanging in the balance and I needed a savior.
“God, please help me! I don’t know what to do.”
A couple of weeks ago, I received unexpected news that my job was eliminated due to organizational restructuring. I know I’m not the only person to suffer this kind of loss, especially, in our current pandemic. Yet, I struggled to process it. My feelings were raw. It hurt. I had devoted over a decade of my life there. My job happened to be in ministry. And, if you’ve ever worked in ministry you understand. It was more than a job. I gave my whole heart to it. My life was consumed by my desire to bring the Kingdom of God to my sphere of influence. This job was the vehicle God gave me. I had dreams and hopes tied to it. In spite of its imperfections and mine, I loved it. Regardless, there I sat wrecked.
Connecting the Dots
Suddenly, so much of what had been normal to my existence changed. I kept saying, “God, please help me! I don’t know what to do.” For a couple of days I wandered around my house uttering those words over and over. Then, something in my brain connected the dots. That’s when I started having flashbacks to that moment in the car wreck when I said and felt the same.
I believed God was speaking to my current pain with imagery of that past trauma. It’s part of how He made our bodies, as Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk taught us in his masterpiece on trauma–The Body Keeps The Score. It was powerful. I felt it. God provided for me in that wreck. This much, I know was true. He saved my life when I could not save it myself. And, I had faith He would do it again. Nevertheless, waves of sadness, anger, and hurt crashed into me with rhythmic-like repetition. The feeling that was so real that night in the back of my wrecked car was very real again. I agonized and grieved this new loss. And, as I did God was with me in a tangible way. He reminded me who He is and what His character is like.
God Shows Up
Last year, I started graduate school for Mental Health Counseling. I love it. And, I knew the prospect existed that my job might change after I graduate next year. It was an honest possibility depending on whether the organization and me were moving in the same direction when the time came. Regardless, I didn’t expect it to happen right now. So, it felt a lot like being hit head-on by an SUV. Nevertheless, I thank God for the reminder that when I cried out, He showed up in power in the middle of that wreck. So, in the middle of this wreck my heart clings to hope as I remember what I know–God shows up.