Let Jesus Take the Wheel
- Adam Weber adamweber.com
- 2017 21 Mar
Last summer our family went to the greatest place on earth: Walt Disney World. The land of tired parents, thousands of tourists, selfie sticks, and endless walking. I mean, the land of Mickey Mouse, smiles, and where all kids’ dreams come true. Greatest place on earth!
My two oldest sons were excited about the Tomorrowland Speedway, a ride advertised as “The roar of mini gas-powered sports cars and the smell of exhaust fumes.”
The Tomorrowland Speedway has race cars that you drive around the track. The cars are guided by a rail underneath, but the driver has some freedom to steer left or right as the car goes. My boys were pumped. Though they barely made the height requirement for the ride, with an adult riding shotgun, they could drive the car themselves.
My wife hopped in a car with our oldest, and I hopped in the passenger seat of another while my middle son, Wilson, climbed in the driver’s side. I said a little prayer to myself and quietly sang, “Jesus take the wheel.” Wilson was smiling ear to ear, and the “smell of exhaust fumes” was definitely in the air. We were ready!
A few insights on my son Wilson: He has the gift of stubbornness, and he’s also a scrappy fighter. He will figure things out on his own and do things his way. He knows exactly what he wants and likes being in control. I love most of these qualities in him.
The light turned green, and I pushed the gas because Wilson’s legs wouldn’t reach the pedal.
And we were off! Well, kind of. Remember the rail under the car and the freedom to turn left and right? Seconds into the ride we were forcefully thrown back and forth in the car. One second Wilson would turn sharply to the left, and we’d be jerked to the right. The next second he’d overcorrect right, and we’d be jerked left. We were barely moving forward, but we were being tossed back and forth like rag dolls.
I finally grabbed the wheel.
Though his pride was shaken, I could tell that Wilson was relieved that I did. We began to cruise around the track, the wind blowing through our hair. It was great! This is what Tomorrowland is all about.
But once more, stubborn and scrappy, Wilson asked if he could take the wheel again. I said yes, and from the moment Wilson grabbed it, we were back to violently ping-ponging from side to side. Left. Then right. Then left. Right. Left. As the seat belt dug into me, I wondered if I might end up dying on a ride meant for little kids at the greatest place on earth.
Seconds into driving again, this time with zero hesitation or reservation, Wilson began to shout, “Dad, you drive! You drive, Dad!”
He didn’t want to drive anymore.
He didn’t want to be in control.
He didn’t want to do his thing.
He didn’t even want to help.
Wilson was a terrible driver. I knew it. And so did he.
When I look back at most of my prayers and the things I’ve said to God, it’s a lot of me telling God what I need and then asking him to provide it.
Lord, help me get into this college.
God, help this girl to like me.
Lord, help me get this job.
God, make it possible for us to buy this house.
Let the weather on Saturday be perfect.
Jesus, help me win the lottery. It doesn’t hurt to ask, right?
Basically, I want, I want, I want.
Like my son Wilson, I’m stubborn and scrappy. I think I know exactly what I need. I think I know what’s best for me. I am an adult, after all.
Just to be clear: we have a heavenly Father who loves to hear our requests. There is nothing too big or too small to ask for. He wants us to come to him. He wants to hear our needs. I’m always amazed by the way God is in even the smallest details. Jesus himself actually told us to ask things of God.
And though God tells us we can ask for anything, that doesn’t mean he will give it to us every time. Thank God for that, right?
Here’s the reality: When it comes to life, I’m a lot like Wilson, a terrible driver. Horrendous is more like it, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.
We tend to be control freaks, don’t we? We’re control freaks and we also believe we’re geniuses. Scroll through Facebook sometime. We know everything! I actually can’t believe we still have problems in this world when everyone is so brilliant.
But the truth is that we have little control over anything. And brilliant? We’re idiots. Well, at least I am. I have no idea what’s best for me. When I’m behind the wheel of my life, I’m ping-ponging out of control and my head is spinning. I fight and I hold on to the wheel as long as I possibly can, until, finally, the words come out.
Father, you drive.
Lord, you take control.
Jesus, I want to follow you.
God, please do what you think is best.
God, I want what you want.
Then a few days will pass—sometimes only a few hours—before I take over driving again, only to find myself immediately tossed back and forth. I hate to admit it, but I’m so stubborn.
When I look back at my life, I see all of the wild rides I endured simply because I wasn’t willing to give up control.
All the while, the best words I could have spoken were,
“God, you drive.
You’re a better driver than I am.
You’re in control of the world, and I can’t even steer my own life.
You’re better at knowing what’s best for me.
You know what I need much better than I do.”
Excerpted from Talking with God by Adam Weber Copyright © 2017 by Adam Weber. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Adam Weber is the founder and lead pastor of Embrace, a church that has six campuses in two states. He likes typewriters, drives a Rambler, cheers for the Cincinnati Bengals, and has four chickens and a dog named Daisy. Adam, his beautiful wife, Becky, and their kids live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Fun fact: He once made worldwide news when a turkey vulture fell out of the sky and onto his back porch during an ice storm. Google it. Find out more at iamembrace.com and adamweber.com.
Image courtesy: Pexels.com
Publication date: March 21, 2017
Adam Weber is the founder and lead pastor of Embrace, a multi-site church based out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He’s the author of Talking With God, and Love Has A Name: Learning to Love the Different, the Difficult, and Everyone Else (WaterBrook, available 8/25/20). He also hosts a podcast called The Conversation with Adam Weber. Adam still cheers for the Cincinnati Bengals but no longer drives a Rambler. He’s married to his wife, Becky, and has four kids: Hudson, Wilson, Grayson, & Anderson. He also has seven chickens, two dogs, & three fish, but what he really wants is a sheep. Visit him at adamweber.com and @adamaweber.