June 7. I’m sitting in the passenger seat of my car as my 16 year old, fresh off a passing score for his ‘L’ test, gets his first taste of driving up in the University parking lot just up the hill from where we live. While I share a lot of pointers and instructions on how he should go about directing the vehicle around the lot, ultimately, I’m releasing control of the car to him, and that is a scary proposition.
Honestly, I like control. I have been told several times that I make a better driver than passenger. But these last several months, God has been reminding me again and again that his story and his work is so much better than mine!
On July 16, we had a baptism service at the river. As I stood listening to the testimonies of the 8 people preparing to go under the water to proclaim their faith in Jesus Christ, I was struck by the different ways that God has drawn each of them to himself and to to this point of baptism.
Among those sharing their story is Jayda, my hairdresser. Jayda first approached me to have a spiritual conversation in December because of a relationship crisis she was experiencing. Other than knowing I was a pastor, we had never really talked about spiritual things. Our conversations while I sat in her hairdressing chair usually focused on family life, concerts she had attended, or buying a new car. But for some reason, when crisis hit, she called me up. I can’t say I had done much to warrant such an opportunity, but God opened a door. Through that conversation, she began to explore Christianity and what it meant to have a relationship with God through Jesus.
As Jayda explored the Christian faith, I was feeling inadequate and worried that I wasn’t doing enough to help or guide or direct her journey, especially if she didn’t show up to church for a Sunday or two. But God is not limited by what I do or don’t do, and I got to see God steadily draw her to relationship with himself, which she declared through baptism.
Recently, I read this quote from Elton Trueblood, a 20th century American Quaker author & theologian: ‘Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.’ As I’ve walked these last several months, I have seen evidence of God at work in Jayda and others, and yet I’ve been challenged about my own level of trust in God. I have felt my own powerlessness and seen God’s sufficiency. I have seen that I have a role in being a witness of what Jesus has done and is doing in me, but ultimately, he has to draw people to himself. I have seen God respond to prayer and show himself to be faithful time and again.
Perhaps I’m beginning to learn to let go of the wheel and trust God to drive.