Sure, there were hard times too—lonely, dark stretches of road in the night that seemed to almost swallow me up, times when I had to lie flat on my back in the mud, trying to find a mechanical problem or stop an oil leak, times when I had to replace a blown tire in scorching sun or pouring rain, moments of confusion and frustration attempting to reverse out of dead ends. No, being alone wasn’t all fun and games, but I always managed to brush off those unfortunate incidents and set out again in search of new adventures.
Then one day You hitched a ride. When I asked where You were going, You said, “Wherever you’re going,” and I soon discovered a wonderful friendship. You were always there to hold the map and to give directions when I was lost. Somehow all the routes were known to You. You were there too in the darkness of those long night drives, to hold my hand when I was afraid and lonely. Somehow Your presence always made the darkness bright.
You were there to push when I needed to get back onto the road after my quest for adventure would land me in a ditch. Somehow You understood my disappointment, and You never said, “I told you so.” You were even there to embrace and forgive after I foolishly argued with You and told You to get out of my life. Somehow You kept loving me and having faith in me. But still I insisted on driving. “After all, it’s my car,” I would remind You. And although I was thankful for Your advice and directions, the final decision always rested with me. “After all, it’s my life.”
Miles and miles flew by, and still I insisted on remaining in the driver’s seat, ignoring Your offers to take control—that is, until the day I totaled my car. Humiliated and heartbroken, my dream car in pieces, I finally handed You the car keys. With a smile of relief, You rolled up Your sleeves and went to work making repairs. In no time we were back on the road, with You as the driver and me as the passenger.
Relinquishing control was far more difficult than I had expected. “Hey!” I would yell, lunging at the steering wheel. “What are You doing? I thought we’d agreed to go that way!” Immediately You would brake and patiently wait until I had stopped struggling to regain control. Then You would turn to me and say with all the tenderness of a father explaining to his child, “Trust Me. I know what I am doing.” Reluctantly I would surrender and sit, chafing in my seat until we turned the next corner. Suddenly it would become abundantly clear that You did know where You were taking me, and I would turn to You with a look of amazement at Your wisdom and foresight.
But that was a lesson I would soon forget, and before long I’d be at it again. We would pass an amusement, and I would whine, “Hey, why didn’t You stop?” You would smile knowingly and say, “Trust Me. I have something far better up ahead.” And sure enough, there was always something far better.
After a while I grew accustomed to Your driving. I learned to sit on my hands and bite my tongue when Your ways ran contrary to mine, forcing myself to patiently wait until the next bend in the road revealed the surprise behind that mysterious smile of Yours. Blowouts and wrong turns became a thing of the past too, as were my frantic searches for happiness and excitement. There never seemed to be a dull moment with You in the driver’s seat.
That’s not to say there weren’t momentary disappointments, like the times You turned down lonely, dusty roads, and it was just the two of us for miles. But those lonely routes led to some of the most breathtaking views, panoramas full of hidden, mysterious beauty that You had reserved for us alone. There were also times when You chose routes that led through places I had always dreaded—dark, sunless valleys and canyons. Why here? I would silently protest—but You could always tell what I was thinking and would ask, “Have I ever failed you before?” As I forced my soul to be still and trust, I found strength and courage that I had not known I had.
Since the day that You took the wheel, I’ve been taken to breathtaking heights and to valleys with a beauty all their own; I’ve experienced the thrill of adventure, incredible happiness, and love without measure. You were right. I would never regret a life spent with You at the wheel.
Proverbs 3:5 ESV / Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV / For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.