Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Driver's Education Moment

In high school, I took the infamous Driver's Education course.  For quite some time we sat behind the banks of simulators, working through various scenarios we might encounter on the roadway.  Before we could get behind the wheel of a real automobile, we were exposed to various "tests" of our responses, awareness of danger, etc.  When we finally got behind the wheel of the Driver's Education vehicle, it was an ominously important step!  We were DRIVING!  But...guess what?  There were two steering wheels, two sets of brakes, and two accelerators!  So, in actuality, if we weren't driving "well", our instructor could "take over control" of the vehicle - overriding what we were doing in order to keep us safe!


Real help comes from GodYour blessing clothes your people!  (Psalm 3:8 The Message)  


I would like us to imagine our life today in a similar manner.  We all have some "simulator" training - then the "real deal" comes, doesn't it?  We go through small tests of our faith, then there is this honking big one.  Just as the simulation training in the classroom of our Driver's Education class prepared us for the reality of the roadway, the smaller challenges of today increase our faith for the huge challenge of tomorrow.


As I made my first venture out onto the roadways, we headed out onto a journey mapped out by our instructor.  He had chosen the specific roadways because they afforded certain challenges -- left-hand turns, lane changes, merging traffic patterns, etc.  We came along a green light which changed to amber.  My instinct...speed up, go through it.  My instructor's instinct was to override the accelerator, stomp on the brakes, and steer the car to a stop prior to entering the intersection!  


I was about to make a decision which "committed" me to act a certain way, but may not have been the wisest or safest.  I was behind the wheel, but he truly was in control of the vehicle!  Try as I might, no amount of stomping on the gas worked!  For my safety - I was being overridden.  I did not know to yield, but he did!


Now...for just a moment, I would like you to think of yourself in the passenger seat, someone else driving the vehicle.  You are approaching what you consider a safety concern.  Be honest...how many times have you actually stomped on the floorboard???  Why did you do that?  Unless you are driving a Driver's Education vehicle, you don't actually have any brake pedals over on your side of the car!  


The thing I don't want us to lose sight of is the nearness of God as we navigate this "roadway" of reality we call life.  We may think we are behind the wheel, but he has the ability to override, help us steer clear of dangers, and to bring us safely to a stop when it is the best maneuver for us!  He's like the Driver's Education instructor - in control.  The most dangerous thing for us to do is to take away the controls he has in our life!  


Our passage says it all - we will inevitably be at a point when we need his help - no matter how "carefully" we are "driving" our lives - we will come upon the intersection which will be the defining moment for us.  We can either yield the controls, or we can staunchly refuse to yield...still trying to stomp on the gas when he has told us to clearly apply the brakes!  The test in the moment is who will ultimately get control.  One has to yield control in order for the other to take it.  God is a gracious "instructor" in our lives - - he asks for control.  But...thank goodness he still overrides some of our decisions on occasion!


Who's really driving our life?  How well have we done with the simulation training we have been through?  Has it made us more aware of the dangers we will face?  Has it made us more sensitive to the need for God's protection?  If so, we will do well on the roadway because we are prepared to drive as though our life depends on his intervention every leg of the journey!