The day was sunny, I was feeling adventurous and a 16 year old friend of the family wanted to learn to drive. What better combination could there be? At the time I was a salesman for the National Association for the Self Employed. In that particular position, I would frequently hang signs on telephone poles advertising my organization. Since I was self employed, my thought sweetened a bit as I began to hatch my plan. I offered to pay young Darrell (Yes, I was going to pay him to teach him how to drive) to help me hang signs and he would get to drive!
First, I want you to know that Darrell was everything that you could want in a young driver. He was careful, he didn’t drive to fast, used his turn signals, didn’t try to race the police… As we drove, steadily the scenery changed until finally, we were on a dirt road.
Here is where it gets a little interesting.
I needed him to turn off of the current dirt road onto another. I pointed, he nodded, I smiled. I pointed again, he nodded, I began to worry. Darrell wasn’t slowing down. I began running through the possibilities of what could happen and decided this is a teachable moment.
Still driving at 35 mph, Darrell turned the wheel left. Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech, woooo, screeeeech!!! The car was spinning wildly in donuts. Because I already knew what was going to happen, I was not afraid…much. Darrell, on the other hand was terrified. When the car came to a stop, wide-eyed, he looked at me and said, “Whoa, that never happens when my dad does it!!”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path” (Prov. 3:5,6 NKJV) God is the original director. His ways are always the best ways.
Which job to take?
Which college to attend?
Can I hang out with this crowd?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart…” We all have a sense of God directing us to some work or person. A gentle nudging that we know not to ignore. He is such a great and loving God that he has planned out our lives for maximum impact. You may not want to hear this, but where you are right now, God has a plan for you!! God has a perfect will and a permissive will, what I like to call Plan A and Plan B. With God, however, Plan B always leads you back to Plan A. Ask Jonah.
Plan A: God said, “Jonah, go preach in Nineveh” Jonah says, “No way, Jose!” Plan B: Big ship, big storm, big fear, big fish, big despair, big prayer. Jonah says, “I think I liked Plan A better.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart…” God knows our hearts and our desire. He is the master of teachable moments, such as my experience with Darrell. Our teachable moment comes when we hear his call, but do not seek His face for the way. Sometimes our hearts are willing to follow, but our minds want to do it on our terms. Socrates said, “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing”
The call is not a commission to go, but an invitation to His presence to find out how to do His will. Darrell thought he understood the physics and the dynamics behind navigating a difficult curve. He was wrong. Most of the strong convictions I have about what I will or will not do comes from God allowing me to bump my head against a brick wall (Not a literal one. Work with me here!). He knows that the hurts that we endure are small payment for the life lessons that we will learn.
“Trust in the Lord with all you heart…” Where you are at, realize that God’s plan is to bring you back to Plan A. The mistakes that were made have already been worked into the plan by a God that knows everything before it happened. Just trust Him and follow His instructions. I promise that God will work everything out in His time. God says, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11 Msg) Hang in there, God has a plan.
I am proud to say that Darrell never made that mistake again. To tell you the truth, there are a bunch of mistakes that I won’t make again either…ouch, that hurt.