A Tapping on My Car Trunk

Two weeks ago I was in Virginia at a retreat for contemplative leaders. I learned much, but, most importantly, I realized again how vital it is for my spiritual health to take quiet time (yes, even time of silence) to be attentive to God’s presence around me. I had been neglecting (here’s my confession) that steady practice of silent prayer in order to “get things done.” No wonder I tumbled into the doors of the retreat center on the numb side. I have come back home knowing I need to make some changes in putting God first.

So why, when I was running late this past Monday morning did I once again revert to the old way of doing things? I had planned to stop at McCormack park for 20 minutes on my way to work and pray and listen. The creek runs along the road there, and it is a beautiful spot to pull over and take a deep breath and read a few pages of my devotional book. As I was driving away from my house, the book on the car seat beside me, I looked at the clock and realized I was running late. Should I stop and pray or get into work to prepare for an even busier week? What do you think I decided? To get into the office as soon as possible, of course. How soon we forget.

I had just made that fateful decision when I got caught by a red light at the intersection before the turn-off to the park. I waited impatiently when suddenly I heard a light tapping on my car trunk, at least that was what it sounded like. Looking in the rear view mirror showed nothing back there. “Is that you, God?” I joked. No, of course not. Let me make this clear. I DO NOT think God was tapping on the trunk. Let me say it again: God was not tapping on my car! Must have been the brakes or something. Nevertheless, in the next ten seconds after the light turned green, I couldn’t help ask myself this second question: IF God had been tapping on the trunk, which God wasn’t, of course, why would God trying to be getting my attention? Now, that’s a different question, and I knew, just like I bet you know, what the answer would be: God would be inviting me for some time in prayer.

So I turned right onto McCormick Drive and found my favorite pull-out on the side of the road, rolled down the window and listened to the water fall over the stones. I was silent and still for a few moments and then opened the book to read a page. I only read a few paragraphs before becoming engrossed in a powerful and true story that somehow helped me see this coming Sunday’s celebration of “All Saints Day” in a new way. That means early on this Monday morning, knowing I was tired and there was much to do, God had just handed me the sermon God wanted preached. I thought I was too busy to stop and listen in prayer to God, but God knew I was too busy not to stop. No, I still don’t think God taps on car trunks….just our hearts, yours and mine. And what I relearned was not how God can help with a Sunday message (most weeks I sweat it out), but how God longs to have quiet conversation with us.

Meanwhile, you’ll have to wait until Sunday to hear the story. After all, it’s not my sermon this week.


  1. Ha! In a sense, it’s “The Telltale Heart” after all.

  2. You’re right! 🙂

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  4. How often do we rush through life ignoring the tap at the trunk, the rap at the window, or the knock at the door and miss the opportunity to let God in?