On Driving…

I was fully equipped to successfully drive from point A to point B.
Full tank of gas? Check.
Fully operational GPS? Check.
Food and drinks? Check.
Reliable car? Check.
And even a paper road map to refer to if the GPS got confusing.
Ready to go!

And at first, the drive was awesome.
Just-right temperatures.
Great music on the radio.
And even light traffic.

Until it wasn’t.
I could see storm clouds gathering in the distance.
And I really hoped that the road would curve away from them somewhere up ahead.
But it became obvious as I went that I was headed right for them.
And sure enough, the storm hit.
Or rather, I drove directly into the storm.
It was unavoidable on my route.
Dark, dark clouds.
Driving rain.
Even hail.
Really scary stuff.

Made it through that.
But then the night rolled in.
And there was no moon.
Cloudy skies.
And a pitch-black highway.
I couldn’t see light from anywhere.
No cars ahead.
None coming toward me.
Just my headlights trying to pierce the darkness.
And I got scared. Again.
The thoughts started swirling.
What if I get lost?
What if my car breaks down?
What if my GPS fails?
What if I can’t read the map?
What if the road curves and I can’t see it?
What if I crash into someone else?
What if a deer or something else jumps out in front of me?
What if…?
What if…?

Here’s the thing: I just made all of that up.
Sort of.
That was a composite of many driving experiences through the years.
Icy conditions.
Curvy roads.
Other drivers’ foolishness.
I am sure you have experienced similar conditions.

I prefer sunny, perfect-conditions driving, don’t you?
Radio on.
Windows down.
Clear roads ahead.

But that is (usually) not life.

Life is full of the unexpected.
Sometimes I see the storms coming.
Other times they suddenly seem to come out of nowhere.
The fog can also show up without warning.
One minute the road ahead is clear.
The next it is covered in pea-soup clouds.
All of those hazards are out there.
And may suddenly appear in my life.

When they do, I grip the wheel with white-knuckles.
My stress levels soar.
And my faith plummets.

I completely forget.
I forget who I am.
A beloved daughter of the King of Heaven, a princess of the realm, adopted and cherished.

I forget Whose I am.
That my Daddy is Sovereign, Lord over all, in charge at all times and never, ever unaware of my circumstances.

I forget the equipment He has given me to navigate my life.
A full tank of gas that is continuously replenished from His own supply. Or, as Paul put it in Ephesians 1, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in me.
A fully-functioning, never-wrong, always-connected GPS also known as the Holy Spirit of the Living God dwelling inside of me. He will always guide, always comfort, always correct. I just have to ask.
A full supply of food and drink, always available from the Bread of Life Himself, the Living Water that always satisfies.
And even a paper road map, the Word of God. Always there to give direction. Always there to confirm the GPS, even as the GPS confirms it.

I forget that my Heavenly Dad is the One who started me on this road and asked me to head for this destination.

I forget that He is in charge of the wind and the waves – and fog and ice and thunder and lightning – Sovereign over all of my circumstances, with every event in my life, good or bad, happening only by His permission.

This terrible amnesia of the soul leads me to panic.
So that Fear grips the wheel and begins to make the decisions.
Pride slithers in and urges me to figure out a way out of the storm by myself.
Doubt climbs in the back seat and begins to whisper lies about God’s character in my ear.
“If He loved you, He wouldn’t allow the storms.”
“He’s playing with you. He must not be as good as He says He is.”
“Some plans He has for you, huh? Is this really where you want to be?”

And sometimes I let them play in my car – in my head and my heart – for far too long.
Be inevitably, without fail, my Dad shows up at just the right time.
With His strong right arm He kicks them all to the curb.
And then He takes me in His arms and reminds me of Truth.
That I am His.
And He is mine.
That He has never once failed.
And that He never will.
That He sacrificed His one and only Son in my place.
So that He can come and hold me close.
And get me back on the road.
Even as the storm rages.

And I hope that the next time the fog rolls in or the rain lashes down, I remember sooner Who He is.
And all He has done.
I remember to use the resources He has given me: Himself. His Word. And even other drivers.
That instead of cowering, I courageously praise.
Instead of trembling in fear of the storm, I tremble in awe of Who He is.
Instead of Pride, Fear and Doubt taking over, I humble myself before Him, seeking His help and fully trusting Him to keep His promises.

That way, regardless of the weather, I can safely accomplish all that He has asked me to do.
Remembering it is all His to begin with.
His car.
His driver.
His equipment.
His agenda.

Remembering that this is the only sane way to survive this life.
And the best way to drive through it all.

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