I had a dream in which I was a front seat passenger in a luxurious, comfortable car, traveling on a quiet, winding road at dusk. Although the car made hairpin turns as it navigated up through the mountains, along sheer cliffs with nothing but churning ocean below, I felt strangely serene and content, admiring the breathtaking scenery as I settled back into the plush upholstery. Gazing out from my open window I could feel a gentle sea breeze and see the constellation of Orion, and many other stars twinkling brighter as the night sky darkened.
I glanced over at the driver’s seat, then panicked because I could see no one there! Suddenly the joy of this journey disappeared, replaced by confusion and fear over having placed my trust in a driver I could not see.
Next I found myself desperately pedaling a rickety bicycle up the same road, but now I was terrified by the blackening night, and by the sheer drops into sure death if I misjudged the turns. I was wearing a new pair of sneakers, but the canvas had already started to unravel and loose cords were flapping against the bicycle spokes. If they got caught I was sure the bike would crash and send me hurtling off the precipice to a watery grave against the rocks below.
Mercifully, I awakened, and rather than writing off the dream to an overly spicy midnight snack, I wondered if it could hold a lesson for me. We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), and faith enables us to trust in what we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). To find peace in the Christian life we must be willing to yield control to God, focusing on Him alone, and to let Him be in the driver’s seat (Isaiah 26:3). Our actions and even our words and thoughts should be yielded to the Holy Spirit Who indwells every believer at the moment of salvation (2 Corinthians 1:21-22), rather than letting sin control us (Romans 6:11-23).
We don’t always see or understand His plan, but we must trust that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6), and that He is safely conveying us through our perilous journey even when we can’t sense His presence. Only then can we experience the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7), as we trust that He is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).
Jesus’ disciples lost heart in the stormy seas even though their Master was on board their frail boat, because He was sleeping and seemed to be indifferent to their plight. Little did they know that a mere rebuke from His lips would quiet the waves (Matthew 8: 23-26; Luke 8:22-25). When we lose sight of Who God is, and of His limitless power (Revelation 19:6) and love (1 John 4:8-10), our joy and peace at knowing Him may be threatened by our doubt and unbelief (Mark 9:23-24).
At times like these we may resort to our old ways, pridefully trusting in our own flesh to get us out of trouble rather than relying on Him (Romans 7:18), even though without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).
In the dream, my own ability to pedal up that dangerous road in the dark was pitifully inadequate, whereas the car with no visible Driver offered safety, security, comfort, and peace. Although our own flesh is unable to withstand many physical struggles, it is even more worthless in the spiritual realm, which is where the greatest battles are fought, with eternal consequences (Ephesians 6:12).
Those bumper stickers saying “Jesus is my copilot” are eye-catching, but in my opinion, they miss the point. As I journey through life, I want Jesus to be the driver, not the copilot! Thankfully, He always will be, as long as we hand the keys over to Him.