Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Faith Lessons – And Teenage Driving

My oldest daughter, Molly, recently turned 15-1/2. As some of you know, that means she is old enough to get her driving learner’s permit in our state. She’s doing very well (as long as it’s not in my stick-shift Altima, where she’s not nearly as comfortable with a clutch).

Here’s something I never thought I would say about her - I detect a bit of a race driver in her. Twice now, she has pulled into the garage too fast…with me saying “Brake, brake!”… and all she can do is give an evil laugh, stop short, and then look over at me with a gleam in her eye. This is not her finest moment…

This weekend, I let her drive me around on a couple of errands. As she was driving down the highway at fifty miles per hour one morning, it occurred to me that we…no I…was very much at risk. She has never had to stop very fast because somebody ahead of her slammed on her brakes. If you think about it, the accelerator and the brake are really close together on our mini-van (2-5/8”, actually – I just went out and measured it). And to top it all off, it occurred to me that the net closing speed of the two-ton Suburban on our left was in excess of a hundred miles per hour. If she swerved, or if the Suburban did, there would be NOTHING I could do about it from the passenger seat. My safety – and I hate to say, my life - was completely in her hands at that moment.

For about a half-second, I was suddenly scared.

And then I thought, “We’re in God’s hands anyway. And we both know that we’re going to heaven if we die. So I don’t really care if she’s in a situation a little beyond her ability. I’ve got to let it go.” Really. I thought those very words to myself. It still seems a little crazy to me.

And so it struck me what a great comparison teenage driving is to trusting in God. Not that God is working beyond his ability. No, it’s more about how you can’t simply keep preparing yourself for His will without ever getting to the task. Like Molly’s driving, at some point, you have to assume she is ready for the next big step and so you go let her engage in the real thing.

Sometimes, it’s very hard for me to simply let go and trust that God will take control of a situation. My father raised me to believe that if you want something done right, you should do it yourself. So I’ve been doing things myself all my life (just ask some of my neighbors, who still think I’m crazy because of the way I landscaped my entire yard with very little in the way of power equipment). It’s one thing to pray that God will intercede. But for me, it’s another thing to understand when He has done so, and to trust that the prayer has been answered – and that there is nothing left for me to do. It’s even harder to detect when he has answered my prayer with a “No”. I like to see visible results, but that is not always God’s way.

I think I need to learn to be more comfortable that God has a plan for me…AND that He is executing it. My tiny mind still finds it hard to believe that the God who created the universe would spend any time caring for me. But He does, because He tells me that He loves me more than any love that I can imagine. Ephesians 3:18 – “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge…” If God can love me more than I love my own wife and kids, then I have to trust that He is working His plan for me more faithfully than I can possibly do it myself. So, I will try to be still and know that He is God.

But if you see Molly and me driving through your neighborhood, you might want to move out of the way.

1 comment:

Miranda Rat said...

Oh...this makes me laugh! Great comparison though. : )

I'm sure my dad had his moments of being scared while teaching my sister and I to drive. That was with a stick shift too.