Leave the driving to God

Recently, a book that I had forgotten about in my library jumped out at me and reminded me of how useful I found it when it first appeared about 20 years ago. It is entitled ‘Manipulating Parents’ by Paul W. Robinson. It focuses on the different tactics children and young people use on their parents and other adults to get something which is a natural desire of all of us’our own way. One of the stories Robinson relates goes like this: ‘Not too long ago, my family was camped at a picturesque spot in Yellowstone Park. After a short time, a family with young teenagers pulled into the spot next to ours. As the parents set up camp, the young people went about doing whatever fit their fancy. The father pulled the tent from the Volkswagen bus and proceeded to set it up while his wife set out the support equipment on the picnic table. ‘During the next two days, the parents spent most of their time meeting the desires of their children. On the second day, the children disagreed as to whether father should take them fishing or back to Old Faithful Lodge. During some bickering while getting into the van, the father interjected. ‘Now look! Who is really driving the family bus anyway’ You guys or me’ To my wife and me the answer was obvious. The actions of this man’s children left little doubt in our minds as to who really ran the family.’ Of course, Robinson then goes on in his book to discuss his view that adults should be the ones who drive ‘the family bus.’ He also points out different ways that children try to take the wheel away and different ways that adults can make sure that doesn’t happen. While the book was helpful to me in working with adults and children who are trying to overcome various problems in relating to each other, it has also been helpful (especially this particular story) in understanding something about problems people sometimes experience in relating to God. How many times do we, as God’s children, try to manipulate Him into letting us run the family bus’ How many times do we try to talk God into doing what we desire in our lives, while He follows along as a passenger. How often do we do this rather than allow God to set the direction of our lives and then follow it’ I know that, as for myself, I have a tendency to try to manage my way into the driver’s seat with God. Prayers like, ‘Lord, if you’ll see to it that I get a $400,000 raise next year, I’ll be glad to start tithing.’ Or, ‘God, if it’s really your will for me to be a minister, then see to it that I get called to the First Christian Church of the Bahamas,’ seem to be very natural to me. But, they are also attempts to manipulate God into following my will for me rather than searching out His will and following His direction for me. The Christian life, however, is somewhat like the familiar ad of a well-known business of a few years ago: ‘Go God’and leave the driving to Him.’ That’s not to say that we have no responsibility for our own lives. But it is to say that, rather than us trying to do as we desire, while God follows along as a mechanic to assist when we get into trouble, we should seek to find His will for our lives’through Bible study, prayer, going to church, etc.’and make sure that we are assisting God to see that His will is carried out. Of course, this is not easy. It takes a lot of trust in God’s driving and faith that He will get us safely to our destination. But, as crazy as the ‘highway of life’ is these days, it seems smarter to me to turn the wheel over to one who’s big enough to see over the dashboard.

Leave a Comment