I’m learning – again – to drive a vehicle with a standard transmission. I learned on a ‘stick’, and was driving a tandem-axle dump truck on bush roads before it was exactly legal for me to do so; but after about 25 years of driving almost exclusively with an automatic transmission, the adjustment has been, well, wrought with hiccups.
If you’ve never had the joy of operating a manual transmission, it works something like this: depressing the clutch pedal renders the vehicle as if it were in neutral. To get the vehicle moving, you have to give it a little gas and slowly lift your foot from the clutch. But you have to give it enough gas, or the car will stall. Or, if you give it too much gas, the car will lurch ahead (that’s where those ‘hiccups’ come in!). It’s a matter of learning how hard to push your right foot, and how quickly to let up your left foot. There’s definitely more work involved in driving a standard; there’s no ‘texting and driving’ with one of these!
One of these days, I’ll get the hang of the standard again. But I’ll never get it perfect. That being said, the car will never banish me from the driver’s seat. I could stall it fifty times a day, and it would still let me drive.
God, on the other hand, can be seen as the perfect Driver, in a sense. To make us ‘go’, he fully understands when to put us in gear. He knows when to let the clutch up, and how much gas to give us. When we place ourselves in the care of the Driver, trusting him for the proper proportion of gas and clutch, of forward motion and careful examination.
Trusting God is not always an easy thing; for us, it tends actually to be quite difficult. We say we trust God, and hold things back, trusting in ourselves to solve problems rather than committing them to the care of the Lord. To encourage us, though, the Scripture is clear: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3.5-6, NLT).
Every once in a while, you can still find a bumper sticker that says, “God is my co-pilot.” But I prefer the one that says, “If God is your co-pilot, switch seats!”
Let the Lord do the driving. He not only knows how much clutch and gas to give, he knows the way to where we’re going. More than that, he is the Way!