It’s a miracle I haven’t run out of gas since Nate died. I didn’t fill my own tank for decades, because he did it for me, which meant he had to have my gas gauge on his mind every day. When it got low, he’d take it to Speedway and top it off.
Nate continued this practice even after we moved to Michigan, despite raw back pain and difficulty sitting. The loving act of filling a wife’s car with gas isn’t listed in the Bible’s love chapter (1 Corinthians 13), but its there, hiding between those verses.
Cars need gas, and I needed Nate to help me get places. In the ten months since he’s been gone, my Highlander’s gas gauge has had occasion to be dangerously close to resting on “E.” Because I’m having to relearn looking at the gauge and thinking about fuel stations, I’ve needed my heavenly Husband’s prompting. Without him, I would have sputtered to a stop on many a shoulder. Because of him, so far, so good.
Although getting used to widowhood means learning new skills and coping with the accompanying breakdowns, another way to look at it is that I’m beginning a new lap but am staying in the same race. Just like a driver who crosses the finish line without an accident, those of us who’ve lost a spouse can stay on the course if we don’t run out of fuel or crash along the way.
Scripture likens all of life to a race, and just because I’ve become a widow doesn’t mean I have to drop out. It simply requires a shift in racing strategy. My pit crew has changed, and I may have to pull over to the side now and then for additional fuel, but as a widow, I’m still in the race.
Several of my widow-friends have actually picked up the pace since their men died, tackling jobs or ministries they couldn’t have managed, had their husbands lived. They didn’t choose this race-strategy; God did. And because of that, he’s the one who fuels their efforts. Their willingness to keep going has resulted in new purpose to their days. They’ve started another lap, so to speak, around life’s race course without getting stuck on a widowhood-detour.
God’s intention for all of us is that we stay in the race all the way to the finish line. Maybe he moves us out of the fast lane, but he never relegates us to the shoulder. I picture him saying, “From your perspective you’ve hit a big speed bump, but don’t consider your life to be over.”
We widows ought never to feel purposeless because we’ve lost our husbands. Just like Nate dependably filled my car’s gas tank, the Lord will faithfully fuel our energy and give us the oomph to accept whatever new challenges he presents. We can take them or leave them; that’s up to us. But like a race car driver, I want to keep moving, stay in the race and cross the finish line… without running out of gas or having any crashes along the way.
“The Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning.” (Job 42:12)