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Why Jesus Won’t Take the Wheel

When I was 16, my dad thought it essential I learn how to drive a stick shift. And his teaching method was trial by fire.

He drove me out to a hill on a back road in my town and said my goal was to drive his blue Ford Ranger to the top of the hill. There we sat idling at the bottom. Me behind the wheel, terrified, and my dad was calmly sitting in the passenger seat.

My knuckles were white on the steering wheel. What if I crash? Left foot. Right foot. Stay on the road. Make it to the top. Am I in the right gear? I pulled my left foot off the clutch and punched the gas with my right foot. The truck lunged forward and clunked to a halt.

Over and over, I jerked the truck and squealed the tires but never made it a couple of feet before stalling out.

By the fifth or sixth attempt, I began to cry. I begged my dad to take over, “Dad, please. I can’t do this. Please, can you do it for me?”

“No,” he said. “You’re gonna figure it out. It’s going to be ok.”

I’m surprised my dad’s truck had a transmission after that night, but I eventually could make it to the top of the hill with nothing more than a purr. I finally figured it out. My dad didn’t take over because he knew it was my lesson to learn.

Jesus will never take the wheel.

When you were born, God handed you the keys to your life. Sure, you had parents to teach you how to drive the first few years, but in the end, it’s you behind the wheel, and no matter how scared you are, no matter how lost you feel or incapable of steering your own life, or how many times you beg, “Jesus, take the wheel!” He will never take the wheel. (Sorry, Carrie Underwood!)

God gave you this gift, your life, and he’s not one to take his gifts back. He trusts you with your life. He trusts you behind the wheel. He’ll never take control of your life because he’s not about manipulation. It’s your lesson to learn.

Now, trust him. He’s next to you, guiding you, encouraging you, and pointing to the road signs. But in the end, keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. You’ll figure it out.

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