Anytime I plan a road trip, I do two things - study the maps and plan for the unexpected. There are lots and lots of things we do to plan for the expected. I shop for munchies to sustain us in journey and make longer patches of road a little more tolerable. I might even bring along a crossword puzzle book or a book on CD to pass a little time while those tires are spinning on the open highways. Another thing I do is pack well, so as to leave enough space in the car to stretch out and enjoy the ride. I also said I planned for the unexpected by checking my air pressure in the tires and having the mechanic look the car over to be sure all the parts and pieces are in good working order. I fill the tank to the brim to get the most mileage out of the tank as possible. I also bring along a roll of paper towel for those moments of little "oops" which will occur, a box of tissue to catch the occasional sneezes (and double as toilet paper in a pinch), and trash bags to collect the variety of stuff we will accumulate in our journey. In the car are a variety of medical supplies just in case there is an emergency and a few tools including a tow line. Why? You never know what you will encounter along the way - but you need to be ready! We have to do a lot of planning to make these journeys, not unlike what we try to do when we take this journey with Jesus. WE want to have it all planned out, hedging for the unexpected, but feeling a little bit like the passenger and not the driver. Why is that? I think it is because we ARE the passengers in this journey, not the drivers - and we struggle so much with not being the drivers!
Follow the road to life, and you won’t be bothered by death. (Proverbs 12:28 CEV)
Following the road to life has a real sense of us not "planning" so much as it has the sense of sitting back and allowing God to take us to the destination he has planned for us. It is kind of like being in the passenger seat - we aren't navigating per se because we have the best navigation system in control when Christ navigates the journey; we are taking in the sights and enjoying the journey. When we are on the right path, enjoying the freedom of being "navigated through" the twists and turns rather than having to do all the navigation ourselves, we find we aren't bothered by all the "what ifs" of the journey. WE would never get anywhere if WE were always reformulating our plans and choosing our own way in life!
Many folks are given to the habit of remaining in the driver's seat, but I have to ask why that may be. One thing I have come to realize about being in that seat is the tendency we have to always look in the rear view mirror and the side mirrors along the journey. Why? It has been ingrained into us as we learned how to drive. We were told to constantly be aware of what was coming up from the rear, what was at our side, and what was about to pass us by. There is a little problem with living life in the driver's seat, though. It is this constant reflection on what is behind and the fears associated with what is gaining on us, about to pass us, or just boxing us in on every side which sometimes gets us into the mode of "not enjoying the journey" we call life!
Rear view mirrors were a great invention for automobiles. In life, they are just not all that fruitful, though! They keep us focused on stuff which we don't really need to be focusing on anymore. If you have ever passed a police car at the side of the road with radar posed at the ready to catch a speeding motorist, then looked down to realize you were going a smidgin over the limit, you might keep looking back in the mirror waiting in anticipation of the flashing red and blue lights. Why? You felt immediate guilt over being disobedient to the law and you thought you were "busted"! When you gaze long enough into the rear view, you miss out on the actual speed trap ahead where the cop is posed to actually take your photo with photo radar! You worried so much about what was in the past, you didn't even realize the dangers ahead!
Now, we go through life with all manner of "pre-planning" to get us from point A to point B, but when we constantly are looking back at point A, we never really experience the glory of the journey to point B. Worrying about what is about to box us in just keeps us tightly wound and we don't really do much in the way of enjoying the journey the tighter it is we are wound up. There is much wisdom in allowing the pilot to fly the plane, the driver to take over the wheel, and the GPS to actually guide the direction we take in life! Just sayin!