Have you ever had a drive home that didn’t turn out like you planned?
When I was a junior in high school, my cousin, Barbi, and I, drove home together following cheerleading practice. As always, that day was a “never-a-dull-moment-with-my-cuz” day.
As I drove along a country road toward her home, Barbi spontaneously and enthusiastically shouted, “Hey! Let’s trade places!” When she started climbing on my shoulders like we were doing a cheerleading stunt, I knew that she had no intention of waiting for me to stop the car before she pushed me out of the driver’s seat.
Why did she want to do something so dangerous? I don’t know, but a few weeks ago I learned that the frontal lobe of the human brain which controls reasoning and long-term consequences isn’t fully developed until we hit the age of twenty. That explains it. She had part of her brain missing. Poor thing.
“Get off of me!” I shouted. She persisted. Because she was blocking my view, I foolishly surrendered to the unhappy exchange. Within seconds the car slid into the ditch where we stayed until someone came and pulled us out.
When life isn’t going how we’d like, and we don’t trust God, it’s easy to try and take the wheel from Him, to boss Him around, and try and force Him to do things our way. Sadly, this will land even the best person in an emotional and spiritual ditch. Why not let God drive your life instead? Here are three benefits of doing so, especially when life is hard.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” (NASB) I don’t know about you, but I have never had any success trying to boss someone around while attempting to trust them simultaneously. Trying to be in control and relinquishing control at the same time just doesn’t work; they can’t co-exist inside the same heart. When we let God drive our lives and trust that He knows best, we are able to rest and stop striving, which means that we will ultimately experience peace.
In the original Hebrew language the phrase “cease striving” indicates giving up by letting our hands down. Interesting, huh? This means that you can’t hold the steering wheel and let God drive at the same time if you want to experience the peace that comes from trust. Nope, you’ve got to let your hands down. Let go of the wheel, friend.
When you trust and decide that you will let God drive, there is a natural rest that will occur. Imagine a woman who is trying to wrestle the driver’s wheel away from her husband. Now imagine a woman who is sitting in the passenger’s seat allowing her husband to drive without complaining, correcting or cursing. Which one do you think is experiencing rest? The one who trusts and is sitting in the passenger’s seat, of course. She is enjoying the scenery. She is not fretting about how her husband will get her where she needs to go. She is just relaxing and resting while she is enjoying her frozen mocha from Starbucks.
But, the other woman doesn’t have time to enjoy a thing because she is too busy trying to be in control. But if she would only choose to trust, she could rest, too.
Which woman will you be like?
There are a lot of things that I like to do, but there are some that I don’t. I don’t like to suck water through my lungs like a fish; I don’t like to stay up for days without sleep, and I don’t like to read books about quantum physics. Why? Because God didn’t design me for sucking water, foregoing sleep and reading books that make my brain feel like it’s been put in a vice. And because God didn’t design me for these things, if I did them, they would make me feel exhausted, fatigued and lifeless.
When we try and take the wheel away from God because we don’t trust Him, it will lead to emotional and spiritual fatigue. Why? Because we’re doing something that we weren’t created for. God made us to lean on Him in dependence—to let Him drive—which leads to contentment, and the confidence that we are exactly where we need to be, doing what we need to do, and fulfilling the role He created us for. This will usher in deep contentment.
Have you noticed that it’s difficult to effectively communicate with someone that you don’t trust? When you are trying to take the wheel from God, it’s a for sure thing that you won’t be talking to Him the way you would if you were letting Him drive.
Again, imagine the woman who is trying to steal the wheel from her mate. Imagine what she is saying. The words coming out of her mouth aren’t nice, are they? They aren’t edifying. They’re just plain mean. She’s loud. She’s obnoxious. She’s bossy. Now imagine the woman who is resting in the passenger’s seat. It’s like she has honey under tongue. Her words are sweet. Because she is relaxed and she doesn’t feel threatened, she is kind. She just chatting away with her mate like it’s all blue skies and sun.
When you’re trying to steal the wheel from God, your communication with Him will be hindered. Words of gratitude will be replaced by complaining, and praise will be ruined by criticism. You will find that you won’t be able to communicate with God easily because you’ll be thinking that He should be driving you better or somewhere else.
In his book, "Reflections for Ragamuffins," Brennan Manning writes, “You will trust God only as much as you love Him.” You will also only love God as much as you trust Him. As you drive along your journey in life, you’ll find that confidence in God’s love is always coupled with trust. As I said, this means letting Him drive. When love and trust are combined, they are a like a match to faith. They will set your confidence on fire so that you can ride anywhere that God is taking you without fear.
Are you convinced that allowing God to drive is best? If so, I challenge you to let God take the wheel. Granted, this can be hard, especially when life is tough and you’re not sure where the road may lead. However, moment by moment, if you choose to trust Him; if you let go, you’ll find peace, rest, contentment, communication and love filling you up. You’ll also stay out of the emotional and spiritual ditch in your relationship with God—and you’ll get to sit in the passenger’s seat and enjoy that refreshing drink. Could there be anything better?