Short-distance dedications

“O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. … Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”

— Psalm 139

Whenever I’m feeling out of sorts — uncertain about some step I need to take, or worried over some situation I’m facing, or mad at myself because of some mistake I’ve made — my first instinct is to go for a drive.

Invariably, I find some kind of reassurance: a pretty sunset, a rainbow, a delicate sunbeam piercing the clouds. But it’s at my most difficult moments, when I’m too wound up to appreciate subtlety, that Love whispers across my thought: “Turn on your radio.”

The first time it happened, I was driving through the night, feeling physically drained after a 15-hour day at work and emotionally drained after worrying over some friendships that seemed to be falling apart, too tired even to manage much of a prayer.

“God, help me,” I whispered, and I nearly ran off the road when I turned on the radio and heard this pour out of the speakers:

It was as if some announcer had said, “Emily, here’s your long-distance dedication” — except it wasn’t long-distance at all. It was a gentle reminder that the Father was right there, loving me and taking care of me, whether I realized it or not.

I was in a similar state of mind, dealing with some fears and frustrations and disappointments, when I found myself cruising down Route 66 last night, listening to the radio and thinking maybe I ought to change the station.

I’d been beating myself up over what I saw as some personal failings, and I really wasn’t feeling very lovable at all when I hit the button and heard Carly Simon singing

These little “no-distance dedications” shouldn’t surprise me … but somehow their perfect timing and warm reassurance never fail to leave me just the tiniest bit breathless.