Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Jesus, Take The Wheel

I was born and raised in Northern California. If you have never been there...you are missing out. We moved to Iowa 11 years ago today. It never seems like it has been that long..until I go 'home' again. While I absolutely LOVE the beauty of living in Iowa, I had forgotten the beauty of California. I don't think I truly appreciated the wonders that surrounded me when I lived there. The ocean, the mountains, the Golden Gate Bridge, and all of the other beautiful landscapes seemed to get lost (or at least go unnoticed) when you are trying to get somewhere, but only find yourself sitting in traffic on a four lane freeway for an hour.

In June, my dad, my 3 girls, and I drove to California for my son's 8th grade graduation. When we came through the Sierra Mountains in Nevada it was nighttime, so there wasn't much to see. We drove along the winding roads and I strained my eyes to just catch a glimpse of one of the majestic tree's that lined the highway. Strain as I might....it was just too dark to see anything.
I don't particularly enjoy driving on winding highways on mountains. They make me very nervous. Mostly because I don't do it very often. There just aren't many moutainous highways in Iowa. My dad offered to drive, but I had already made up my mind that I was going to do this!!

I found myself being very scared at every turn, not knowing what was around the corner. When is the next turn coming? Is there a big truck that has taken that turn too sharp or not sharp enough? How far down is that drop??? As these thoughts raced through my mind, I found myself becoming less confident in my driving abilities. My dad tried to reassure me that there was more room than I thought and that the turns weren't really as sharp as they seemed. Unfortunately, that wasn't working. Again, he offered to drive. I continued to grip the steering wheel as hard as I could while I brought the van to a crawl at every turn. I am going to do this!! There were semi trucks passing me going up the grade of the mountain (if you've ever drove on a mountain with semi's then you know how slow I must have been going!). I was looking so forward to seeing these mountains and now they had become my worst nightmare. All of those majestic tree's that I would usually stare at in wonder and amazement had become huge shadows that blocked any possible light from shining down on the highway. I found myself asking my dad the same questions I asked when I was a little girl.....'Are we almost there'? 'How much longer'? Can I breathe now?

Driving that mountain reminded me of the mountains in my life when Satan is whispering in my ear......."When is that turn coming"? "How far down is that drop"? and I find myself becoming very scared. I become unsure and unconfident in who I am in Christ. I find myself searching for the light through the tree's and not being able to find it. I believe, in times like that, God is sitting next to me, much like my 'earthly' dad was, reassuring me that the turn is not that sharp, there is more room than I think, and even offering to drive.....if I would just let go of the wheel. Just like I did to my dad, I choose to not hear my Heavenly Father speaking words of comfort......."I can do this!!!!". In those times, just like my dad, God becomes quiet and lets me 'white knuckle' my way down that mountain on my own.

I am sure my dad would've liked to have taken that wheel from me that night. However, he allowed me to exercise my free will and I chose to stay in control. God wants to take our wheels, too. However, He won't. We have to exercise our free will........and let go!

Thank You Father for always offering to take the wheel. Please help me to take my hands off of it. And thank You for giving me an 'earthly' dad who models Your love for me more than I give him credit for.