Chuck Meets Gavin for Breakfast

Again, more talking from Chuck. Gavin gives him some good counsel and it set up the rest of his day, but … the action came to stop. 


Gavin Heatley glanced at his watch and checked the door of the diner once more. Chuck was rarely late and with the urgency in his voice last night, Gavin was surprised when he had arrived first. Chuck had promised that there were no new developments or crises, but Gavin couldn’t help but be concerned. His brother-in-law didn’t ask for help unless and until he was completely beaten down. Now he wasn’t showing. It didn’t make sense. Gavin hoped the chest pains weren’t an issue again. Surely, Bobbi would have called him if some thing like that had come up.

At last, Chuck came in the small restaurant and quickly found Gavin. “Thanks for meeting me,” Chuck said extending his hand. “Sorry I’m late.”

“I was beginning to wonder,” Gavin admitted.

“My car,” Chuck said, as he motioned toward a waitress. “All the years I’ve owned a car, and this morning, of all mornings, I got to experience having a dead battery.”

“What’d you do?” Gavin asked, but before Chuck could answer, the waitress stepped up to their table. She warmed Gavin’s coffee, and poured a cup for Chuck. She wrote down their orders and slipped away. “I didn’t think you were supposed to eat bacon anymore,” Gavin teased.

“I’m not,” Chuck confessed. “Anyway, I had to get Bobbi up, and jumpstart the car.”

“How is Bobbi?”

“She’s good. Better every day.” Chuck emptied a packet of sweetener into his coffee and stirred it. “I think she’ll get everything resolved soon.”

“If it’s not Bobbi,” Gavin said, “it must be Shannon.”

“Yeah,” Chuck said, glancing away. “I found out…  I know why she’s not coming home.” He gave Gavin the details of Shannon’s contacts with Dylan and his own confrontation with him, including the discovery of the internet pictures.

“Chuck, I’m sorry. I’ve got girls, granddaughters, I can’t imagine what that must have been like… seeing those pictures.”

“Gavin, what if she’s still with him? He’s a psychopath. He has no remorse, no shame…” He stared out across the diner. “I sat up last night for hours thinking about this. He punched Jack… how long before he gets violent with a girl who won’t give in to him? What if he already has? What if he hurt Shannon?”

“Don’t do this to yourself,” Gavin said gently. “You can’t dwell on these things.”

“How can I not? This is my baby girl.” Tears began to form in Chuck’s eyes.

“But if you get caught in a loop of ‘what-ifs’, you will go insane.”

“I think that’s what’s killing me. There’s so much I don’t know, that I can’t do anything about.” Chuck sighed, and asked, “Am I a control freak?”

Gavin smiled. “You have to ask?”

“I’m serious, Gavin. Glen tells me I need to quit trying to bring Shannon home. At least through my own efforts anyway.”

“I don’t think he expects you to sit around.”

“No, but do you think I’m trusting in myself more that I’m trusting in God?”

“I can’t answer that, Chuck. You’re the only one who can say where your trust lies.” Chuck frowned slightly. “However, I think you’re asking me because you know the answer and you hope you’re wrong.”

“I, uh… I read these verses in Jeremiah last night. ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man,’ it said. I always took that to mean trusting in others, but I’m cursed if I trust in myself, too, right?”

“Without reading the verses for myself, yes. If you are depending on yourself to do whatever it takes to bring Shannon home, and you’re just informing God of your progress, then you probably fall under that.”

“Great,” Chuck said sarcastically. “How do I let go? Those verses talked about trusting God and being like a tree in the heat and drought. I think we’re in those hard times…”

“That’s an understatement,” Gavin interrupted.

“How do I change, Gavin? If I thought God was holding Shannon away because I was so hardheaded…”

“Don’t go there,” Gavin said, shaking his head. “You can’t say what God is doing or why, exactly. Ultimately, His goal is to use all this to make you more Christ-like. Right now, this is a faith issue for you.”

“How so?”

“You’re not sure God is going to work this all out to your liking, or on your timetable, so you’d rather do it yourself.”

“This was too big for me to trust Him with it,” Chuck admitted, and Gavin nodded slowly. “And God let me go… until I had completely failed.”

“You haven’t completely failed,” Gavin said. “You’re finally ready to listen. Now He can work.”

“So what do I do in the meantime?”

“Stop ‘doing’ for once. God’s working on this, I promise. Do you think it’s an accident that you had a dead battery this morning, of all mornings?”

“You don’t think it was just one of those things?”

“Everything happens for a reason, for a purpose. I think your car battery was dead so God could let you know He has even the smallest details of your life in His hand. Now, do you want to let Him be God for a change?”


“Chuck, do you know where Shannon is?”

“If I knew that, I wouldn’t be here.”

“God does know where she is, and He has a plan to bring her home in His time.”

“You know this is real easy for you to say. It’s not your daughter.”

“No, but she is my niece,” Gavin said gently. “I pray for her every single day, and I wish I could tell you why God seems to be letting this drag on, but I don’t know.” He took a long drink from his coffee cup, then said with a slight smile. “You know, all these years, it’s always Bobbi that had to do these impossible faith-stretching things. It’s about time you got your turn.”

“If do half as well with it as she’s done with hers, I’ll be set.”

“Chuck, I’m going to be praying that God will show you, somehow, that He hasn’t forgotten about you, and that He’s working even though you’re not seeing a lot of evidence of it.”