If you have ever been stricken with a panic attack, or literally been frozen in fear, or just flat out overwhelmed by life, even for a moment, you may relate to this story.
Dr. Paul Walker, Pastor Emeritus, at Mount Paran Church of God, in Atlanta, Georgia, used this illustration in a sermon probably twenty years ago and I never forgot it.
He was the Senior Pastor at Mount Paran at the time, and also specialized in counseling.
His assistant came into his office and said that one of the members of the church was on an interstate, to the side of the traffic and was paralyzed in fear and could not move, she could not drive.
And she was several exits and several miles from her home.
Dr. Walker, got her on the phone and determined the situation was quite serious and dangerous as well.
He called her by her name and he assured her that they would get through this together.
Dr. Walker asked her if she could see the next exit sign from where she was frozen in her car.
She said she could.
“Great.”, he said. “Now drive to that exit ramp and when you get to the top of the ramp, pull over and call me back.”
On the next call, Dr. Walker said, “We are going to take one exit at a time until you are home. Now drive to the next exit and when you get to the top of the ramp, pull over and call me back.”
And they continued this until she had safely reached her destination.
One exit at a time.
At times, we become so overwhelmed with fear that we are paralyzed.
We cannot move, we cannot go forward in our life, we certainly can not go backward.
I have been there.
I recall a day, years ago, where I was so overwhelmed with fear and panic, that I literally locked up, frozen, and I told myself I would survive this in five minute increments until I was home.
Much like the exit to exit strategy used by Dr. Walker with his church member.
Take your fears and stresses you have for today, and break them down, exit by exit.
And in each case, you will find hope at the top of the ramp of the next exit.
Then ask God to guide you to the next exit and ramp.
Christ is the hope you will find at the at the end of each exit.
And hope will get you to the next exit.
He will guide you, exit by exit, until you reach your destination.
“The steps of a good man are directed by the Lord. He delights in each step they take. If they fall, it isn’t fatal, for the Lord holds them with his hand.” Psalm 37:23-24