I first saw her as I made my way across the street to my friend's home. Paused behind a toddler in an umbrella stroller, she appeared to be about fourteen. The perplexed look on her face drew me to her and I asked if I could be of assistance. Though she was in search of a public place to view fireworks, I directed her towards the lake where my friend's husband was preparing his fireworks extravaganza. With several hundred of their closest friends spreading over four or five lawns, I knew their policy was "the more, the merrier."
Descending the hill upon my return, I once again spotted the now familiar figure standing in the midst of the sea of people scattered across the hillside. Clearly unsure of her next move, I invited her to come sit by my husband and I.
As we made our introductions I learned she was babysitting for the evening. I was quite impressed by how prepared she was as she spread out a blanket for her little charge. She seemed to have everything she could possibly need - sippy cup, snacks (healthy ones at that), little things to keep the toddler entertained, bug spray, even ear plugs (something I wish I'd brought for myself!)
Concern swept over me, however, when I learned she had walked over a mile in search of a viewing spot. For all her fastidious planning it was obvious to me she had overlooked one major detail - after the fireworks, how was she going to get back?
Being in a rural area, streetlights are few and far between. Just the thought of that little stroller bouncing over the gravel in the dark in the midst of the mass exodus after the fireworks terrified me, and I began praying in earnest that she would allow me to bring her home...
Today we celebrate our nation's independence. As Americans we have bought in to the belief that this applies to us as individuals, but that was never God's intention. Just like the babysitter, our best efforts at independence will always fall short. The good news for us is, God hasn't called us to independence; He's called us to live in dependence on Him!
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." ~ John 15:5
How are you doing when it comes to depending on God? Do you turn to Him in every circumstance, or just when you find yourself in trouble? True success comes, not when we rely on ourselves, but when we live in reliance on God. We accomplish, though Him, that which we could never accomplish on our own.
Lord, I will be the first to admit that far too often turning to You is an afterthought. Help me to turn to You in all things, not just as a last resort. Thank you for the divine encounter with this young girl, and for allowing me to see her safely home.