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Reflections from Faith and History

Jesus, Keep The Wheel

By Jeff Olson

Like most other boys at a young age, I looked forward with excitement to the day I could learn how to drive a vehicle and get my driver’s license. My first taste of driving, as I recall, was of my father letting me sit on his lap and help steer our 1957 Oldsmobile Super 88 into the driveway of our home. He was a brave man. As I discovered early on, there is something special between boys/men and cars and trucks which often begins early in life. Perhaps this is also true for some of the ladies as well.

Most of us learn early on that our driver’s license is not only a legal document but an avenue to freedom and our first taste of control and power. When getting behind the wheel, regardless of our income, influence, health, physical appearance, or any other human distinctions, people come closer to meeting one another on an equal playing field than just about anywhere else. Behind the wheel, and with those horses awaiting command, our sense of personal autonomy and confidence can often increase to levels beyond those when we meet face-to-face in other venues of life. With this, our presence of mind and sense of community may often succumb to priorities (sometimes trivial) which trump attention, courtesy, and concern. Often, it is simply a matter of focus. Getting from point A to point B, no matter how close or far, is a journey that demands our undivided attention and, as we all know, there are more distractions today than ever before which compete for that focus.

At this point, you might be asking, “What difference does this really make?” Well, aside from the obvious safety aspects in play, our driving habits are a part of our conduct which serves as a reflection of our character and testimony in substantiating and validating our claims of integrity and faith. This is where we come to the heart of the matter, literally. For those of us who claim to be Christians, we have a mandate by Christ that we place ourselves totally under His lordship (Acts 2:36; Philippians 2:11). Could it be that this lordship even extends into our conduct and witness behind the wheel? To bring into captivity every thought to the obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) is indeed a tall order, but it can be done (Philippians 4:13). And what about our witness for Christ in obedience to the law? In Romans 13, Paul exhorts us to be subject to the laws of the land and states that if we resist or break those laws then we’ve essentially resisted or broken God’s law. Since government is one of God’s ordained institutions, then it behooves us to respect it and comply with its jurisdiction as a part of our lifestyle and worldview. Think about it: Is exceeding the speed limit or running that stop sign or red light breaking the law or not? So what?……do our words and actions convey the same message – that it’s okay to break the law, just don’t get caught! And, what kind of example are we setting for our children?

Within both a literal and figurative context, many of us have already asked (or sung) “Jesus Take the Wheel” especially in moments of desperation and urgency. Is this really the primary role Jesus should have, as a handy co-pilot available just in case we need Him in a pinch or as a miracle healer if and when we are in a collision and perhaps one caused by our own negligence?

Wouldn’t it be a whole lot better (and Biblical) if we let Jesus both take and keep the wheel on a regular basis? Then He could steer us not only in the right direction and with the right attitude about ourselves and others on the roadways of life but also within the providence and protection of those laws which He has blessed for our well being and safety. And, in doing so, we will save some lives along the way. Let that sink in!

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