I like to be in control when I’m in a car. All the time. When I’m riding with someone in a car and they slam their brakes too sharply or get too close to the bumper of the car ahead, I slam my imaginary brake on the passenger side. This is why I typically do the driving, because my braking foot takes a beating when I’m the passenger.
You might say, “Poor Mel.” And you would be right. When we travel, I’m usually the driver. He’s more laid back than I am, and he actually likes being the passenger. He makes life and death decisions at work, and letting me drive takes the stress away–especially if it’ll keep me from riding my imaginary brake.
I think I tend to do that with God, too. You know, grip the reins of my life too tightly and make my own decisions without waiting on God to control. If you do this, then you’ll probably understand that this kind of behavior can land you into trouble. Why do some of us have to learn this lesson the hard way?Recently, however, I received a God-breathed gift of learning to allow someone else to drive. Our pastor made this possible with a mountain-edge trail and two ATVs.
Anyone who knows me would think I could tackle a rocky ATV trail with great enthusiasm. After all, we had gone on other rides with these friends and had an amazing time, and when I’m with Mel I feel fearless. This time, however, it was scary. I mean, there was a water-engorged rushing mountain creek maybe 200 feet below a cliff-edge trail covered with rocks of man sizes, from fist-sized to tire-sized. We had to climb to the top of the mountain before we could fly down the other side through mud-and-snow-piled curves. I simply could not do it. I don’t have the strength in my shoulders to push the accelerator and hold onto the handlebars.
So following our good and trusted friends–and of course using them as guinea pigs to see if they fell off the cliff first–I latched onto Mel and begged him to drive.
Kind of like releasing my own will and doing only God’s, I trusted only in holding on tightly and at times spelling the word h-y-p-e-r-v-e-n-t-i-l-a-t-e over and over again, sometimes closing my eyes, often trying not to scream. When I realized that no one could hear me over the sound of the engines, I learned that I could even scream on occasion without alarming anyone.
It’s that way for me when I let go of my own will and allow myself to be subject to God’s, instead. It occurred to me in my panicked brain at one point that this wild ride–which some daredevil riders told us to take–was a good picture of the Christian life. We followed our pastor and his wonderful wife, and I trusted Mel’s strength and God’s grace and mercy to keep us on the trail.
After a few wrong turns–after which we were forced to turn around on a very tight trail–we found the actual trail at the top of the mountain, and the rocks disappeared and the mud began!
Oh, the joy of being on the mountain top with snow and mud flying in every direction, the pine scent and the views of other mountain tops in the distance, and no cliff beckoning our ATV to tumble down. YeeHaw!
Isn’t it like that at times in our Christian walk? God calls us to something frightening, daunting, or at least a little nerve-wracking, and we actually do His will and follow? Have you felt that rush lately? I want to do this more often!
We are attempting to do that more often out here in the wilds of Wyoming, where everyone lives a little more on the wild side. I would love to hear if you’ve taken a step you wouldn’t ordinarily have taken, and stepped more fully into God’s will, even if it was daunting. Or even if you’ve had an adventure recently that was also on the wild side.