Lesson from an empty tank

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Yesterday I ran out of gas.


The day before the portentous warning light had glowered at me, but we were late, there were people waiting, the baby needed a nap, the kids needed to eat, someone had to be picked up, groceries needed to be bought….. Yada yada yada. And so it went, mile after mile.

Turns out, cars run on gas, not on willpower.

So yesterday we were running late (again) and I promised myself we would fill up first thing after Vacation Bible Camp. But with less than a mile to go before we reached the church, the van shuddered to a halt. I looked over and blinked haplessly at my husband.

Here is what I would have said if our roles were reversed: “did you really think you could drive all day yesterday and not have this happen?” “Isn’t this the same place you ran out of gas last time?” “I guess that’s why they say ‘more haste, less speed’, huh?” “Did you think the F on your gas gauge stands for Finished? The E for ‘got Extra’?” All with a laugh, but a ribbing nonetheless.

In the days afterwards, I might have kissed him goodbye with a “Have a great day! Got enough fuel? Just checking!”

But in that moment, and in the hours that followed, my husband said not one mean thing. Not one. No gentle teasing. No ribbing. No jokes at my expense.

Just like my Facebook buddies did, I would have responded to my crisis with teasing. But it occurred to me as the day wore on and the teasing continued and I felt all the sillier for my predicament, that I couldn’t recall a time when my husband has ever teased me for making a foolish mistake.

Romans 12:20 says: “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” (NLT)

I am not his enemy, but my head. is. burning.

Thanks God for this gentle man. Like you, he does not treat me as my sins deserve. I’m so thankful.

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4 thoughts on “Lesson from an empty tank”

  1. Thank-you for this wonderful picture of grace! And for your humility in admitting to a penchant for teasing. I find myself also teasing – and also laying blame in a more blatantly unkind way – too often, and mostly to those closest to me, those I truly would rather affirm than tear down. And thinking about your story has reminded me how it is so much easier to accept blame and repent when faced with kindness instead of accusation. It’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance! I know this for myself, and I hope I can become better at extending this kindness and grace – especially to my family, who I somehow seem to feel need to be “made” to be remorseful.

  2. OK, first off I have to say that you are in good company. Well, if I’m good company that is. It’s been a while, but I’ve run out of gas on occasion. It’s rarely fatal.

    Second, you have a wonderful family, husband included. ‘Nuff said.

    Third, I know what you mean about the teasing. I used to be quite a prolific and indiscriminate teaser. Prolific in the sense that it was practically my default mode, and indiscriminate in that I often didn’t know when to stop. Not a good combination. It’s been an area of change for me, and I most times do not default to teasing, nor do I let it run on usually. People get really beat up in this world, and I’ve resolved not to add to it.

    That said, there is a time and place for everything, even a good tease. And when it’s well-timed, those moments are golden!


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