Can you remember when a bus company used the clever advertising ditty, “Ride a Greyhound Bus…Leave the Driving to Us”? Since my only bus experience back then was an occasional ride on local transportation, I didn’t fully appreciate that slogan. However, I do now.
Some years ago, I worked on a book about a family-owned motorcoach company in the Midwest. The family eventually chose not to publish the book, but I still learned a lot about the bus business, including its travel and tourism division. For the book I interviewed a number of motorcoach drivers, along with some of the company’s part-time tour guides. I discovered that traveling is a lot easier when you leave the driving and the details to someone else.
Then in 2018, my wife and I experienced the joys of “leave the driving to us” up close and personal, as they say. We joined a group of friends on a tour of Italy, and since then have enjoyed other bus excursions to Cape Cod, Mass.; Vermont; and most recently, Niagara Falls and Toronto, Canada.
My purpose isn’t to extol the virtues of bus tours. Some people love them; others wouldn’t consider being confined in a bus traversing a state or country. But unless you enjoy sitting behind the wheel of a car or SUV for hours at a time across multiple days – and I know some folks do – traveling to interesting places via motorcoach sure helps to keep your stress level down.
I’ve found a very similar principle to be true spiritually. Many of us go through life with a “can do” type of attitude. No matter the challenge or the crisis, we’re determined that we’ll power through it and come out the other side in good shape. That is, until we encounter circumstances where that’s not possible. They might be serious health problems, family issues, financial setbacks, job uncertainties, or myriad other situations we must deal with in everyday living.
Suddenly we conclude that being the “driver” of our lives isn’t such a good idea after all. The road ahead looks foggy at best; other times it’s like trying to drive at night without your headlights on an unfamiliar, unlighted road. Being behind the wheel no longer seems so appealing or liberating. We want someone else to take over and guide us along the way.
We find this theme recurring throughout the Bible. In perhaps the most familiar of the Psalms, we receive the assurance that “The Lord is my shepherd. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quite waters…. He guides me in paths of righteousness…” (Psalm 23:1-3). Like sheep who don’t know which way to go, we have the privilege of turning to our heavenly Shepherd who promises to lead us even “through the valley of the shadow of death” (verse 4).
The psalmist offers the petition to God elsewhere, “Keep steady my steps according to Your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133). Pitfalls aplenty lie ahead of us, poised to trip us up and send us hopelessly off course. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a guide who knows the way – and is aware of potential detours?
We like to believe that we know exactly where we’re heading, that we’re right on schedule, and no obstacles can deter us. That, unfortunately, isn’t the way life works oftentimes. One day it’s like we’re cruising along a smooth highway in bright sunlight, and suddenly our course is obscured by pea soup-like fog. We can’t tell what’s right in front of us, much less where to turn or which exit to take.
It’s been many years since I first cried out, as the Carrie Underwood song expresses so passionately, “Jesus take the wheel!” There still are times when I forget, when I assume an attitude of, “Thanks, God, but I’ve got this. I appreciate Your offering to lead the way, though.” Ah, the folly of such hubris.
Over time I’ve learned that even when I’m feeling self-assured, it’s better if I let the Lord take the controls through His Spirit. He knows the twists and turns, unexpected obstacles that lurk along the way. It’s much better to embrace the perspective of the psalmist who said, “Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your name lead and guide me” (Psalm 31:3).
This doesn’t mean we fold into a fetal position or sit inertly on some stump. The Lord expects us to do our part, but it’s so much better when we let Him do the driving.
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Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.