Before we began our family road trip last summer, I thought about how I’d never been to the Grand Canyon. I thought about how exciting it would be to go places I’d never been, to see things I’d never seen. I even thought about how we’d deal with the heat and the elevation.
However, it did not occur to me that I should worry about coming home and how that would require us to descend from the elevation for which I’d prepared so thoroughly.
What I’m saying is that driving down the mountains in Colorado just about did me in.
Now, I should clarify: I was not the one doing the driving. My husband drove us, just as he had the entire week leading up to this moment. He drove us out of the Rocky Mountains, and we did, in fact, arrive at our destination safely. But I doubted him and the likelihood of our safe arrival every mile of the way.
I shouldn’t have. We were fine, probably never actually in danger. But it was just a lot of downhill and curves and more assertive driving than I prefer. And if we had a dollar for every heavy sigh or bug-eyed glare I tossed out as I held on to my door handle for dear life, well, we definitely could have paid for our vacation that way.
That drive terrified me, but I couldn’t help but notice that my kids had no such problem. They sat in the back seat, unconcerned and unaware of the drama going on up front. Busy with their tablets and toys, they barely looked up unless we forced them to (which we did frequently throughout the trip, demanding they ooh and aah at the mountains and trees and rivers).
I could see what was happening on the road and believed I had some kind of control over the driver. My kids, on the other hand, knew they had no control over what was happening — and didn’t care because 1) they trusted the driver and 2) they weren’t staring at the curves in front of us.
It took me several hours to notice this difference. (As you may have picked up on, I was pretty well consumed with fear for our lives and determination to force my husband into riding the brakes all the way down the mountain.) But once I did, I could not deny that the whole situation felt familiar.
As we flew down the mountain, in the capable hands of my husband who drives for a living, I doubted and feared and attempted to control the situation with my gasping and griping — just like I so often do when traveling through my life.
We might sing and sometimes joke about asking Jesus to take the wheel, but in reality, letting God control where I go, how fast I travel, and which route I take to get there can be scary. And when I refuse to trust Him and even try to control Him, I end up feeling more fearful and frustrated than if I’d just sat back and relaxed like my kids did during vacation.
Do you know this feeling I’m describing? When it feels like you’re hurtling toward certain death or at least disaster? When you thought you knew where you were going (you did the research, you made the plans, you fired up the GPS) but now nothing looks familiar in front of you and you’re not sure how to get home from here? Are you feeling lost or out of control or more than a little bit of motion sickness in this season?
Take it from me: Trying to control the Driver by telling Him what to do and then complaining either passively or aggressively when He doesn’t follow your instructions is not going to make you feel any better. You will not feel any safer or surer that things are going to work out. Searching desperately for alternate routes or pressing your foot on the metaphorical passenger side brake is not the way to find peace or a settled stomach.
When life takes an unexpected turn, when fellow passengers are more aggressive than necessary, when we find our vehicles traveling at what feels like breakneck speed, the solution for all our mixed-up, messy feelings is to act like my kids in the backseat of our minivan:
Take a look at the One driving and remember that He knows what’s best.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)
Trust that He loves you and wants what’s best for you.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them . . . And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.
Romans 8:28, 38a (NLT)
Believe that He is in total control and will protect you no matter how the road curves.
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT)
And then rest in that knowledge.
I won’t go so far as to suggest you enjoy the ride — although you could! Just check out that view whizzing by the window! But take a deep breath and believe in the One behind the wheel. God is in control, and we can trust Him to take us where we need to go — safely and at just the right time. And when we do, our journey somehow becomes less terrifying and more exhilarating, and we can face what’s ahead with hopeful anticipation.Leave a Comment