Do you remember the first time you got behind the wheel? You know, that first time when your dad or mom or granparent or sibling or aunt or uncle started to teach you how to drive? Oh yes, I remember mine. I was a late learner, 17 years of age to be exact. My dad was in the passenger seat. My brothers had tried but they were definitely not like my dad. He was so patient, that's he's nature. Dad has always been that way. I remember driving down the road and not knowing what to do at a 4 way stop sign. I kinda froze and I had people honking at me and my brother telling me to hurry up, but my dad, not him, with all the patience in the world he said, "don't worry, they will be fine, take your time and just do this..." OH yeah, I forgot to tell you, they were teaching me to drive stick shift. :) The car had stalled and I got stuck in the middle of this 4 way stop sign. Oh Lord, I thought the world was coming to an end (yes, I was a dramatic 17 year old). Anyway, I finally got going and we got home. That night I decided I was going to buy an automatic car; and I did!
How about the first time you drove all by yourself? Do you remember that? It's exhilarating, isn't it? You feel so grown up, so adultish! You offer to go get the groceries mom forgot, get the dry cleaners, take other siblings places, pick up grandpa or grandma. Aaaahhh...yes, and our parents probably loved it.
Years later, or perhaps, a few months later, the joy of driving becomes another thing in the list of actions we perform on a daily basis and the time comes when driving becomes a chore that we no longer want to perform regularly because most of the time we do it to do tasks we rather not accomplish. Tasks like going to work, taking the kids to school, to doctors, to activities.
I remember going to India back in 2006. Upon arrival we were assigned a driver. The reason was because Kolkata traffic can be a bit nerve wrecking...a bit like this...
Seriously, I remember being in the car and seeing a few cows, a tram, mopeds, bikes, rickshaws, taxis, buses...all on the street at the same time and many going in different directions. Hence why our kind hosts gave us a driver. And I tell ya, it was nice to be dropped off places and being asked, "at what time do you want me to pick you up?". No need to find parking, Amen to that!!! Can you imagine having a driver? Yes, imagine someone to take you to work, pick you up, take you to the mall, that crowded mall during Christmas time when there are no parking spaces in sight? Yes, that would be superb!
Now imagine someone doing that in your life? Someone that tells you, "I know you're tired, let me take it from here. I'll drive!". And yet, that offer has been available to you, and to me, for a long time now. But, who likes to be the passenger driver? Really, we may be stuck with someone that doesn't drive as fast as we would like to or maybe they drive a bit too fast for our liking. And what if we get the driver that constantly hits the breaks abruptly or the one driver that never puts on the turning signals? No thanks! In addition, to be a passenger driver means we would give too much control to someone else, and even if we don't feel like driving, we take the wheel because we think we can do better.
You and I have been called to be passenger drivers in this life. Did you know that? God invites us to follow Him and let Him be the driver. And yet, most of the time, we rather treat him like a back-seat driver. We put Him in the back and when He tries to lead us in a direction we don't think we should go we simply ignore Him or shush Him, because really, who likes back-seat drivers anyway?
Oh, if we were only more willing to let Him lead, to let Him drive.
"Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat, I am." (Mark 8:34-MSG)
There's a reason why He's asking us to let Him be the driver. He sees far beyond the road that's in front of us. His vision is perfect. He knows the turns we should take that will keep us safe, that will keep us from danger. And even though He is in the driver's seat, He knows that the ride won't always involve sunny skies, so He doesn't promise that but He promises to show us the way.
"Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how." (Mark 8:35-MSG)
He knows that at times we'll have to drive through storms and some rough terrain but He will show us how to make it through it! And even better, He promises to be with us, always. In our ignorance, well...more like, in our stubbornness, we choose 'us' instead of God. We think we can do better. We think we know ourselves better and no one better than us to take us to where we need to go. And there's God, waiting, just waiting to 'let Him take the wheel' (thank you Carrie Underwood for the analogy...LOL!). But to do that seems like such a sacrifice at times...
Yet, in the beautiful surrendering of the 'wheel' we will find a Savior, and in that Savior we will find our true selves...
Yes, the self that gets lost in the many turns and roundabouts of life. And in the midst of all the wrong turns we end up losing the self that should distinguish us from others, the self that knows that we were once lost but now we are found; found by the Savior that extends grace and mercy and joy and peace at every turn we take in life. So the question now is, why not? Why not let Him drive? Why not become the passenger and follow Him? After all, the road of life will one day end, no time to get lost trying to find our true selves in all the wrong places.
"What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?" (Mark 8:37-MSG).
Nothig. I can't think of anything worth trading.
One day, you will get stuck in the middle of a four way stop sign as the honking of people and the messy stuff of this world comes at you from every direction. And there, in the passenger seat, you will find God and He will look at you and say, "now, will you let me be drive?."
You're not supposed to be in the driver's seat...God is! And rumor has it, He's pretty good at it!