A Road Test of a Different Kind
By John P. King
I have great respect for those people that run a driving school and teach others how to drive (I also give those cars with the "student driver" sign on them A LOT of room). I taught both my son and daughter how to drive, and let me tell you, it was a real adventure for me in patience, understanding, and anger management. New drivers tend to brake hard and start fast, nearly park sideways in the parking space, drift into other lanes, and "wobble" by over-steering, then over-correcting, then over-correcting the over-correction, and that's in an empty church or school parking lot. They still need real time on the road and, hold your breath, the INTERSTATE!
The moments came when I had to reach out and take the wheel or give a "firm" word to preserve life, limb, and the paint job on the car (all in loving grace and mercy, of course). But as we drove around, I began to understand that for me, the great lesson was in knowing when to say or do nothing. The only way they would truly learn to drive is if they did it themselves without my constant intervention. Mistakes would have to be made and the handling of the car would certainly be less than comfortable on mine and any other passenger's part, but learning would take place, and that was the goal. Understanding that helped me see something about how the Lord moves in our lives, or doesn't, as the case may be.
Without a doubt, just as I always sat next to my kids as they learned to drive, the Lord is always with us. Jesus, in giving the great commission in Matthew28:20, concluded by saying,
"and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Hebrews 135b-6 echoes that truth when it says,
"for He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you, nor forsake you' so that we confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?'"
Our Father will always be with us and can come to our aid when we need Him to. However, I also believe that there are those times when He will simply do nothing and say nothing. How else will we learn? How else will we grow? That's why James 1:2-4 says,
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."
We have no money to pay the bills. We hate our jobs, or worse, can't find one. Our relationships at home more resemble a battle zone than a family. Persecution breaks out all over the place, and the devil hits our weak spots so hard we can't hardly think straight let alone live straight. It feels like our lives are "wobbling" out of control. If we didn't know better we might say that the Father has abandoned us, but we know He promised he would never do that. He's simply doing nothing and saying nothing so that we can learn and grow. Our faith is being "road tested." If things get too out of hand, He can, and will, take the wheel. But in the meantime, we need to find that joy that James wrote about, because in the end we will be those people "lacking nothing."
Copyright © 2013 John P. King. Used by permission.
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John P. King is an ordained Assemblies of God minister and works as a prayer team coach at CBN's National Prayer Center in Virginia Beach. He has a Bachelor's in Bible from Valley Forge Christian College and an M.A. in Practical Theology from Regent University. John authored the devotional book, Don't Smoke the Newspaper and Other Lessons Learned by a Pastor. He and his wife, Genevieve, have two grown children. Send John your comments.
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