A Mandatory Lesson


A Mandatory Lesson

by Annie Wesche | October 1, 2016

It took only a moment for the joyful contentment in my heart to disappear.  I was jarred into a panic by the blaring siren and flashing lights suddenly in my rearview mirror.  Oh no!  No, no, no!  What did I do?  After years of driving, I had never been pulled over … Until now.  I resisted the tears that began to well up, pulled off the road, and quickly tried to conquer my worries.  Everyone has this happen to them one time or another, right? I thought.  You’ll just get a warning.  You can do this.  Just be respectful and humble … Cry later.

. . .

I had just moved to Colorado and was finding my way to the Denver airport for the first time. We were hosting a Set Apart Girl retreat over the weekend and I was on my way to pick up four of our young attendees.  Of all the times to get pulled over, this was not ideal.  The officer took my license and registration and, with very little exchange, promptly handed me a ticket, declaring, “Your court appointment will be in two weeks, downtown Denver.”  Stunned, I timidly asked why I was given such a harsh judgment.  He then informed me that I had been speeding in a “mandatory court” zone.  That was it.  No warnings.  No first-time fines.  Straight to court, Annie!

After the officer left, I phoned my dad who comforted me, prayed with me, and assured me it would all be okay (and that I was not a hardened criminal).  I then called Eric and Leslie to let them know what had happened.  After similar reassurance, they exhorted me to not think another moment about it — to not let the enemy rob me of my joy or distract my heart from the girls I was called to serve that weekend.  Resolved to surrender the matter, I composed myself and headed to the airport with a determined smile and a blotchy red face that betrayed my fresh tears.  Lord, help me focus on what You have before me next, and not worry about what I’ll face two weeks from now.  

. . .

When the day of my court appointment came, I remember a significant exhortation Eric gave me in the moments before.  He said, “Annie, this is your Black Diamond ski slope.  For most, this would just be a Bunny Hill, but for you, right now, it’s a Black Diamond.  God is going to grow you through the very thing you fear.  And one day, this will merely be a Bunny Hill.”

Those words were an effective encouragement to freshly put my trust in God, who knew exactly what I was facing.  And sure enough, as I walked through the metal detectors at the courthouse and stood before the judge, I experienced His grace in every moment.  It did end up being a simple process that was quickly over.  As I took a deep sigh of relief on the drive home, I knew that God had just done something significant in my life that went far beyond improving my driver-awareness.

My trust in the “unknown” had been greater than my trust in the One who knows everything.  The first only cultivated fear and anxiety, but trust in God produced confidence and peace. It brought all the unknowns under His care, rather than my own.  I no longer had to figure out how I would handle things, because I could look to His direction and help instead.  And when we give Him room to work on our behalf — through that complete trust — we behold His power, grace, love, and beauty in ever-increasing measure! 

. . .

Dear sister, fear and anxiety cripple us from following Christ where He wants to take us and from doing what He wants us to do. They make living miserable, small, and inward, as we hide silently in the corner of our life.  But when we put our trust in God (and not in our past experience or our limited knowledge), regardless of how we feel, we have in Him everything we need to face anything that comes!  That’s a promise!  We can rise up in confidence, enabling grace, supernatural calm, and direction. And we’ll also discover what wonderful lessons or blessings He was allowing those hard thing to accomplish for us!

Great or small, Black Diamond or Bunny Hill, God is ready to help you, lead you, comfort you, and work in your life something that will have a lasting impact—to take the very thing you fear and use it to transform you.  God used my mandatory court experience to show me the fear of man I had in my heart, to expose the pride I had in fear of failure, and to train my soul where to look for immediate strength, peace, and courage.  And looking back on it all, I see not what happened to me, but what God was doing in and for me, out of His extravagant, matchless love.  A mandatory lesson from my Almighty God who purposed that I would walk triumphantly!  

Invest your heart and time each day into getting to know your God. The more you know of Him, the more your soul will be equipped to rightly handle all the unknowns, challenges, and trials you’ll face or even now are facing.  But don’t take my word for it:

You will keep [her] in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because [she] trusts in You.  (Is. 26:3)

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  (Rom. 8:28)

All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.  (Ps. 25:10)

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.  We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  (2 Cor. 4:7-10)