Sunday, December 13, 2009

Driving Lesson

I was driving to work the other day after all the snow fell. The roads were pretty clear, but the people were still driving a little cautiously. Things were moving better than I expected, but those of you who've been a passenger in my car know I have a tendency to get impatient pretty easily while driving. I don't know why it is that I can wait in line at the grocery store with a decent amount of grace, but when I get behind the wheel all bets are off.

The left lane is for passing.

My kids have been the most effective microscope on my behavior on the road. When I hear the sarcastic accusations drip from their mouths with disdain because someone hesitated at a green light or didn't use a turn signal or drifted into our lane because they were on the phone, I know where they heard it first. And it hasn't gone unnoticed that I get asked in the car more than any other place, "Mom, are you okay?"

So, it's just like God to use my car as an object lesson and speak clear as day to me this particular morning while I was fuming behind a commercial van.

You know the kind I mean, right? The big white one with no back windows to see through so you really have no idea what's going on in front of them.

I hate not being able to see what's going on in front of me. Especially on the road. I want to know if there are cars backed up for miles or if there's plenty of room to accelerate if I could just get around this one big van. And the trouble is, I can't follow too closely because I can't see through the non-existent windows, so for all I know everyone in front of him is breaking.

So I'm driving behind this van becoming increasingly agitated because I think I'm going to be a few minutes late now. The van is driving much slower than I would be, I can't get around him try as I might and I don't know what the hold up is.

And that's when I started to get this dawning realization that God was telling me that He's in the van. No, I haven't wigged out. He wasn't literally in the van. It was an analogy - following Him in my walk of faith was like being behind this van.

I can't see what's ahead.

I can only rely on Him to lead the way at an appropriate pace. Not my pace, but His, which might be a lot slower. So I can't speed up when I feel like everything is taking too long.

I can only trust Him to break when necessary. Instead of lagging way behind for fear of crashing if I follow too closely.

I can only resist the urge to pass Him and get in front which might cause me to miss a turn or end up behind a much worse driver.

I can only believe I will get to my destination at the right time, after having traveled on the right route.

But I know how I get in the car and so I'm thinking, I'm not patient enough or skilled enough to follow at the right distance and not be tempted to pass in my frustration. And that's when I hear God basically say, "Right. That's why we need a trailer hitch between us so you can stop driving altogether and not worry about you getting too far behind or way off course."

Matthew 11:29-30 says, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." He means "yoke" like the one that binds oxen together when they pull a cart side-by-side. That's the verse I thought of when God was telling me I needed to be hitched to Him. When you're "yoked" to someone, you can't get ahead and you can't fall behind, you go at the same pace in the same direction to the same destination.

Funny how sometimes He blocks your vision for awhile so you can see better.

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