Adventures in Winter Driving, Part 2: Help My Own Way!

"We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us." (2 Corinthians 1:8-10 NIV)

Being stuck in the driveway of a total stranger is quite an experience. (See "Adventures in Winter Driving, Part 1: Did you hit My Tree?" For THAT story!) To say that I was relieved to finally see the tow truck would be an understatement, and after the coldness of the lady who owned the driveway I was stuck in, the driver's friendliness was like a breath of fresh air!

It didn't take him long to come up with a plan for pulling me out of the ditch, and while he was getting everything set up, he told me the following true story from the previous day:

It had been snowing quite hard and visibility was at an all-time low. The tow truck driver arrived at the scene to find a car stuck in the ditch. (Sound familiar???) The driver of the car was fuming with anger. He kept glaring at his watch, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel and groaning with impatience. "I'm in a hurry!" He growled. "I'm late as it is. Hurry it up!"

"I'm doing my best," replied the tow truck driver as he hitched the towing cable to the front end of the car and started to attach it to the tow truck. "Put your car in neutral and let my truck do the work!"

To his dismay, however, the impatient man wouldn't listen. He revved his engine, and the drive wheel spun uselessly in the snow and mud, sending the vehicle deeper and deeper into the ditch.

"Sir, please stop trying to help me!" Shouted the frustrated repair man over the noise of the car engine.

But the driver wasn't paying attention, and the mud and snow continued to spray.

He tried again: "Sir, if you don't put your car in neutral, I won't be able to help you!"

Smoke was now rising from the deepening grooves in the mud as the wheels kept spinning.

The repair man made one last desperate attempt: "You want to do it your way? Fine!" He began unhooking the towing cable. "I'll have to leave you here!"

This got the frantic man's attention enough for him to slip his car into neutral. In just a few seconds, the car was out of the ditch.

"You don't know how frustrating it is to help someone in need when they insist in doing their own way!" Concluded the driver. "Instead of helping me, he just got himself deeper into the mud!"

This story haunted me for the rest of the day. Not that I have ever tried to "help" a tow truck driver, but I routinely try to "help" the One Who is there to get me out of my life messes. When trouble strikes, I complain, I moan, I cry out to God for help; but instead of waiting patiently upon Him, I keep on trying to resolve things myself! The result? The problem gets bigger and bigger, until I then have the audacity to complain to God for not rescuing me!

"Where were you when I needed you?" I cry.

God's answer is always the same: "I was there, but you were ignoring me!"

In reality, I have proven over and over again that I am a complete failure when I don't wait upon the Lord. I have learned an important lesson in life: the more I depend on God, the less I worry. The more I depend on myself, the more my anxiety increases. I can just imagine God crying out: "Sir, stop trying to help me! If you don't keep your car in neutral, I won't be able to help you!" And finally, "You want to do it your way? Fine! I'll have to leave you here!" How rejected He must feel when I ignore Him! But He is patient, and He lovingly waits for me to start trusting Him. Lord, help me to respond like John the Baptist: "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30 ASV)

Some respond in this same manner to the message of Salvation. They proclaim that they are saved by the merits of what Jesus did for them on the cross, but then they insist on adding in their own good deeds, just to "be sure" they will reach Heaven. I speak from personal experience when I say that instead of achieving their desired result, they push themselves farther away from God's plan of Salvation. Remember: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2: 8-9 NIV)

Are YOU stuck in the driveway of your life? Who will YOU rely on? Your Heavenly Tow Truck Driver? Or yourself?

Rob Chaffart

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