God Doesn't Need A Backseat Driver

My son, the backseat driver, with his cousin behind the wheel.

My son, the backseat driver, with his cousin behind the wheel.

My son loves everything about being in the car. (Actually if he had his way, he’d ride in Daddy’s truck ALL THE TIME.) He loves pointing out the trucks as we make the daily commute from daycare back home… the garbage truck, the mail truck, crane trucks at construction sites and the “big, big trucks” aka semi trucks. He's taken it upon himself to learn as many vehicles as he can, but he’s also started to learn something else… that he loves to direct me as I drive.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m impressed that he knows that red means stop, green means go, he knows the places where we like to eat (kid loves to do lunch) and the grocery store when we pass it and that in general, he knows the way home.  But he also feels the need to tell me which way to go and any deviation from our usual route has to be explained. And honestly, I get it. He just wants to know what he can expect during our trips in the car.

Typical kid behavior, right? They depend on us as parents to give them what they need each day and to get them where they need to go. But despite their trust in us, they still question us and push for answers. Typical of our relationship with our heavenly Father too, isn't it?

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
— Jeremiah 29:11

How could we possibly need more assurance than that? God has a plan for us, and not just for today, but for our whole lives... and yet the faith and trust we have in our Lord isn't as strong as we'd like to think. The idea of having God in the driver's seat is comforting until it seems that maybe he took a wrong turn. 

Are you sure that you wanted to take my life in this direction, Lord? I don't know if this is the right path for me. How long will I be on this road?

We have peace in the fact that God guides our lives, that he hears our prayers and has the power to answer them until we don't like waiting on God's time table.

Another detour? I just want to get where I'm going, Lord. Can we get there any faster?

Let's face it, we've all had our turns as the backseat driver in our relationship with God. We've whined, complained, nagged him for answers we're not entitled to and may have even thrown a spiritual tantrum or two. I wouldn't blame God if he were to turn this car right around and go home! And yet he has endless patience with us and reminds us time and again that He is in control.

And as much as we'd like to think otherwise at times, would we really want it any other way? Spiritually, I would be a terrible driver on my own. I'd drift through life until I got lost. I would get distracted by things of this world all too often and drive recklessly. I'd probably end up in a wreck and who knows how much damage there would be. Like children, we depend on God to get us where we need to go. The journey isn't always fun... the errands include things like tension in relationships, work stress, health issues, loss. But we know that as long as we're strapped safely in our Father's car, the final destination is more than worth the trip. 

So to quote my girl Carrie Underwood, "Jesus, take the wheel."