Maneuvering

I’m on a road trip this week to Orlando for the D-6 Conference, where I will be leading a breakout session on preparing young people for the spiritual challenges of college life. As I drove to Jacksonville, Florida, my overnight stop, traffic was heavy much of the way along I-26 and I-95. I was fascinated by all the maneuvering of many drivers in order to get through any congested traffic. They fall into three categories.

There is the tailgater, who, while driving at speeds above 70 mph, will pull up behind you as your passing another car to within a few feet in order to let you know you need to get over NOW! Of course, when you are on the outside lane passing cars, that won’t prove much an incentive, at least to me. 

Then there is the lane changer, who changes lanes almost continually to maintain speed or to quickly regain it, often cutting others off to do so. They may change lanes a dozen times over a mile just so they won’t have to slow down. 

There is also the lane cutter, who, when traffic is merging into one lane because of road construction or an accident, refuses to get over behind the line that is forming; instead, they stay in the soon-to-be closed lane to pass as many cars as possible and then try to cut into the other lane at the last moment.

All of these maneuverers are impatient behind the wheel because they want to be in control. They do not want to submit to circumstances that may stand in their way of getting where they are going as fast as they want to go. They take matters into their own hands.

Aren’t we a lot like that in life? We’ve got places to get to and we will do as much maneuvering as is needed to get there. We are so focused on where we are going, that we give little to no thought as to what God might want us to do. 

Over the years, I have met a lot of students who come to college already having their lives planned out. They know what type of job they’re going to have once they graduate. They know where they are going to live. They expect to be married (or not married) and to have children (or not). Done. And then they embark on maneuvering to get there.

Many times when I have met with students like this, I have asked if they have ever consulted with the Lord regarding their plans. If he truly is Lord of their lives, then certainly he has a say in the matter of their future. Normally, the answer is no. This is the ultimate of maneuvers—just don’t bring it up. By not bringing the plans for our futures to the Lord, maybe, just maybe we can live the lives we want.

Of course, the assumption that is made here is that we know what’s best for us. Unfortunately, we usually do not. Just as drivers who make various maneuvers to get through traffic think they know best, sometimes those maneuvers end in tragedy and loss when cars collide at high speed. It is the same with living our lives on our terms. Likely, our maneuvers to do so will not end well for us.

If we believe God truly is God, that he is the Creator of all things, then it is only logical that he would know what is best for us, far beyond what we can ascertain. So, for our own sakes, it makes sense to stop all the maneuvering in life to live as we please, and to seek him out on how we should live. The results will always be far better.

© Jim Musser 2021

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