One of the highlights of my time in Thailand was the afternoon we left the house for an outing and instead of getting in the car, I was handed a helmet and told to get back on the back of a motorcycle.
Being the obedient mom that I am, I did just that and off we went through Chiang Mai, darting in and out of traffic and alleyways.
If I hadn’t trusted the driver, it would have been a different story, but Caitlin is an old pro and I enjoyed being the passenger since I’m not two or a teenager. I find that sometimes it’s a relief to let someone else be in charge for a change and make all the decisions. It’s the same when I’m in a taxi here. I sit back, relax, and let someone else hassle the traffic and cut off the cars who are waiting patiently to take their turn [traffic conventions being slightly different here than in the states].
There are times I want to do the same thing with God. I want Him to take over my life, solve my problems, get me out of a mess, cut through the snarly jam. He’s the one who has the power to do that. But for better or for worse, He has let me be in charge. I’m the driver and He’s the passenger. I’m the one with the power to decide when to go and where to go and how far to go. I get to choose when it’s time for a coffee break and when I’m going to be a road warrior and press on. God is in the passenger seat [behind me if we’re still with the motorcycle metaphor, beside me if we’re in a plane or car], whispering in my ear with suggestions and instructions about which way to go., and I’m free to listen or ignore Him.
The thing is, if I had been driving around Chiang Mai, I would have been happy to have Caitlin tell me the short cuts, how to avoid the nasty intersections and speed bumps and potholes. She’s the expert; why wouldn’t I listen to her? And it should be the same with God. Why not listen to Him? Well, because I think I know a better, faster, easier, shorter, more pleasant way to go. I forget that God is the one who is the master GPS, with realtime traffic information to boot. And yet I’m still the one driving. I’ve got the awesome power of free will.
God doesn’t yank the steering wheel from me. He doesn’t yell at me when I ignore the left fork He wants me to take. He stays with me, finds a way to work around my stubborn choices that have landed me in yet another mess, gives me the grace to trust Him and listen to Him whispering in my ear while I drive along on the road of life.