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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Who's driving anyway?

Walt Kelly is quoted as saying, "Every burden is a blessing."  Walt is probably best known as the cartoonist who created the little character strip known as "Pogo".  He began as a cartoonist for Walt Disney, bringing characters to life in Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Dumbo. In one of his simple strips in the Pogo series, Pogo is walking along with Porkypine and is struggling to make it across the forest floor because of the prickly pine needles. As the two sit to nurse those wounds inflicted by the thick undergrowth and ponder the dilemma, Pogo simply says, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."  The enemy is us - what a somber thought, huh?  I once heard it said there are three people in the driver's seat of our lives - the person we are at this very moment, the one we could be if we gave into every whim or fancy of evil which presents itself to us, and the one we most certainly want to be by letting Christ do the driving.  The struggle comes in deciding which one will slip behind the wheel of our lives the most frequently!  If every burden is truly a blessing, then how is it we continue to resist those burdens and demand our own way while attempting to carry them?

Guide my steps in the ways of Your word, and do not let any sin control me.  (Psalm 119:133 VOICE)

Too many times, we are tripped up by the prickly stuff in life which makes our journey just a little bit too much for us to manage.  We find ourselves "nursing our wounds" and agonizing over the burden we are carrying - all the while forgetting we were clearly told to turn those burdens over to the one who has all the power and strength to bear them!  I believe the burden best becomes the blessing when the burden is squarely upon the shoulders of Jesus! It is then the burden can take on meaning, building within us character for the journey and helping us to navigate without unnecessary encumbrances.  Yet, we hold onto the "driver's seat" in life - thinking we will somehow figure out how to bear the burden in our own strength or wisdom.  The moment we "slide over", allowing Jesus to get behind the wheel, we notice something rather odd happening - evil is closer to the door and therefore further away from the driver's seat, we are closer to Jesus than we had been before, and he is navigating us safely through the journey because he actually knows the way!


Most of the time we find the "three drivers" are kind of at war with each other, though. We want to be in control, so we slip in behind the wheel again, trying to navigate potholes, maneuvering at break-neck speed around obstacles, and then wonder why our journey seems so hard for us.  Since mom doesn't drive anymore, I do all the driving in the family. She assumes the seat as "passenger", but if you were to speak with her about it, she isn't always that comfortable there!  She would like to be behind the wheel again - because by no longer being able to drive she lost some of her independence.  I think this may be the very thing which trips us up so frequently in life - the fear of losing our independence and being even remotely dependent upon anyone or anything else!  As she ages, she has also had to assume the use of a cane, wheelchair, and occasionally a walker.  Even the "aids" she has become burdens to her as she must remember where she laid the cane last, how to navigate the walker past corners of walls when she cannot clearly make them out with her limited eyesight, and how to trust someone to push her safely through traffic into buildings when she must go longer distances than she can easily endure.

Aids are good things - but they can also become a reliance which become a burden to us at times!  Don't believe me?  Auto-correct on our smart phones was meant to be a "predictive aid" for us.  How's that been working for you?  Ever send a text to find the words you thought you typed came out totally funky?  That "aid" actually "predicted" the words totally different than what you intended to send.  Nothing is more frustrating to me than to have to type the same word ten times over trying to convince that "aid" known as auto-correct to NOT correct my spelling!  What we think might be a benefit to us in life can sometimes become a burden - not easily shed, constantly trying to influence us, but not always "right" in the influence it exerts!  Not every "tool" is the right tool - not every influence is the best.

I don't know who is behind the wheel right now in your present circumstances, but I do know that until we move evil to the door and then actually encourage evil to get out of the car, we aren't really going to appreciate the beauty of the journey!  I don't know what "aids" we have become dependent upon, but I do know they can become burdens to us which we were not really meant to bear.  I think our journey is best made in a "two-seater" - Jesus at the wheel and us squarely in the passenger seat.  I also think we must see all we might muster up as a plan to deal with life as "aids" to us as potentially not so beneficial after all! Just sayin!