“I wouldn’t have gone this way.” It has become my passenger-seat mantra. When my husband and I go somewhere together, I prefer that he drive. The poor man has started asking me which way he should go, just to avoid my trademark comment. Of course, it is almost always followed by, “No, no, it’s fine. You didn’t know there would be so much traffic.” The inference is that I did know and would have avoided it. I’m just smarter, I guess.
We just returned from vacation: a road trip of 600 miles and 12 hours, each way. While we shared the driving, he did most of it. Seven hours into the trip, we came to a halt in four lanes of stopped traffic. It seemed that it was going to remain that way for some time, so we decided to hop off the highway and go on an adventure.
It was probably the best trip we’ve done because I wasn’t familiar with the roads or area we were driving through. We just looked at the map and took a chance. It was actually fun. I had no idea where exactly we were going, but I was enjoying the ride. There was so much to discover: quaint downtowns, country lanes, mountain views. We weren’t pushing through as quickly as possible on the highway, with only our destination in mind. It wasn’t upsetting to stop at a traffic light or meander at a slow speed through a small town. There were new sights to enjoy along the way. And not once did I say, “I wouldn’t have gone this way.”
For me, this easily translates to my spiritual life. I say God is in control and I completely trust him. But then he goes the “wrong” way. He takes me down a path I think is a mistake, full of bumps and hazards and dead ends. “I wouldn’t have gone this way,” I say. Do I think I am smarter than God? I’m not even as smart as my husband. But then I find the path he chose is the best one. When I allow him to drive my life, I can relax in the passenger seat. Have you ever noticed that when you switch from driver to passenger you see things you never noticed before? Since you aren’t focused on the road ahead and the traffic, you see the beauty along the way. For the first time, you notice the way the trees move in the breeze, the patterns of the hex signs on the barns, a curious gravel path that winds up a hill.
With God in the driver’s seat, I don’t need to fear the bumps in the road. He is in control and always takes the right route. When his way is not what I would have chosen, I am tempted to question his decision and even offer a better option. The way I had planned out seemed best—the way that would accomplish all I wanted. But when I trust his driving, I can take my place in the passenger seat and see things I otherwise would have missed: the green pastures, still waters, and his goodness and mercy. And his way always results in an incredible view of his glory.
“He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3