Before I go too far with today’s post, let me make this statement:analogies only go so far before they break down. I’m going to make an analogy here, and I’m going to try to stop before it breaks down. So, just bear with me!
Yesterday morning I was taking Olivia to her sewing class. Olivia was sitting in the middle seat of the van, and Steven and Angela were all the way in the back. As I drove along, I made some observations. Olivia, from her spot in the middle, was somewhat interactive with me. She paid a bit of attention to where we were going. But, she also paid a good bit of attention to what the two other hoodlums were doing all the way in the back. And, I guarantee you they weren’t paying attention to anything but their games! They played with each other and occasionally would get excited about the crop dusters and tractors they saw. But, mostly, they were just along for the ride.
Now, when Doug is with us, I’m not in the driver’s seat. But, I have tried over the years to become more involved in the traveling itself. I try very hard to not be a side-seat driver. But, there are only two ways I learn my way around a new location. I either have to be the driver, or I have to very intentionally pay attention to where we’re going and what we’re doing. It doesn’t come naturally to me.
Through the day yesterday, I was thinking about the spiritual comparisons to this. How do we interact with our journey through life to eternity?
The truth is that God is the only one who really knows the route and what to expect up ahead. He’s in the driver’s seat and the rest of us are passengers. We are going toward eternity, just like every person in my van was going wherever I drove yesterday.
Some of us are very involved with the Driver. We talk to Him. We interact with Him. We pay close attention to every turn, every bump, every sign we can see ahead. We are determined to learn and be aware. When something delightful crosses our path, we can share in the joy of it. When trouble comes along, we can take one look at the Driver and know He has it all under control.
Others of us are halfway there. We like to see some of what’s coming, but we don’t always like the focus, energy, and effort it takes to block out the noise from the rest of the passengers. In fact, we find ourselves a bit torn between attentiveness to the journey and to the fun being had by some of the other passengers. When those delightful things come along, we get to hear the exclamations from the front, and if we’re quick enough, we can share in them. But, still we miss a few. When the troubles come, though, it’s a little harder. We can’t quite see the Driver’s face. We see the danger, but we have to force ourselves to engage to find the comfort we need to know that everything is under control.
And who are those last passengers? Well, they’re the ones of us who know that the final destination is under control. We’ll get to heaven when we get there. But, since we’ll get there anyway, why put our energy into being a part of the journey? We sit all the way in the back in our own little world. Sometimes we happen upon those delightful things, but for the most part we miss them because we can’t hear the Driver when He tries to draw our attention to them. Or we hear Him, but we miss them because we don’t respond quickly enough. And then there are the dangers. Oh, when the dangers come we tend to be pretty terrified. Why? Because we have no way of seeing the Driver’s face and it’s so incredibly hard to hear His voice from that far back. We don’t regularly talk to Him anyway, so we might not even be fully able to discern His voice from the rest of the noise of the journey.
If Christ is your Lord and Savior, you are riding in one of those seats. You’re either up front with Him, in the middle tottering between focused and distant. or all the way in the back caring little for the journey until you miss something or get scared. Which are you?
The awesome thing about the Christian journey is that there is endless room in the front with God. It’s not like my van where there is only one front passenger seat. No, in God’s vehicle, we can all miraculously fit and every last one of us can sit right up close to Him the whole time. Sadly, few put the effort into doing so, myself included. Although the times I’m all the way in the back are pretty rare, I frequently find myself in the middle seat. I miss so much because of it, too.
Who wants to join me as I head up to the front seat? I’m ready to be closer to the Driver and be more involved in the journey. I’m ready to stop missing delights. I’m ready to be immediately comforted by the peace that radiates from Him at all times. I’m ready to really be a part of this journey. Who’s with me?