Driving has always been a passion of mine, especially if it involves shifting through the gears of a manual transmission. I could not wait to get my license when I turned sixteen. My first “driving” experience actually goes back to when I was only about three years old! As the story has been told that my brother Terry, and I were sitting in our family’s 1963 Plymouth when my dad briefly ran into a store to purchase something. Notably, he left the engine running, and seizing the moment, I enthusiastically jumped behind the wheel and punched the button on the dashboard that said, “Drive.” Push-button technology was new for its day and required that the parking brake be applied, even though the car had an automatic transmission. My dad hadn’t done so, however, and the car suddenly lunged forward, and coasted away from the curb. My brother, who was about nine years old, attempted to steer the car from the back seat! Fortunately, I was too small to reach the accelerator pedal, and my dad chased the slowing moving vehicle down the street until he was able to jump inside and apply the brakes. Disaster was averted!
Sometimes our lives are like that runaway Plymouth. We navigate life’s highway with the expertise of a three-year-old, and allow other incompetent drivers to steer us toward disaster. Thankfully, we can rely on our heavenly Father to correct us and apply the brakes before we crash if we invite Him to intervene. God is always there for us, no matter how far we’ve gone off the road and in many cases, he has kept us out of the ditch.
Despite that little mishap, my dad would eventually trust my driving after I had grown considerably and matured. Good fathers know when it is time to let us go and drive for ourselves. Likewise, our Heavenly Father knows when we are ready to be in the driver’s seat of our lives. Occasionally God still has to “take the wheel” when we get off course, and lovingly steer us back in the right direction. “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (I Corinthians 10:13, NIV). I hope you had a blessed and happy Father’s Day this past Sunday.