So, I was running late (nothing new there) and as I drove along (you didn’t think I was really running did you?) a car pulled out of a road up ahead and my heart sank when I saw that it had a big L on it.
Is it just me whose heart sinks when I end up behind a learner driver?
There’s sometimes that moment when they stall at the traffic lights of a busy junction and then they drive through just before the lights go red again. Or perhaps the way they can trundle along slowly and it’s not safe to overtake. Mostly they drive really well, but these occasional mistakes make us wary.
I am genuinely in awe of driving instructors and I need to especially thank my friend Andrea who gave me permission to use the photo of her car. I know they have a brake on their side, but it doesn’t strike me as being the safest or calmest profession in the world.
Anyway, back to my story. I was in a rush and I had the oh, no I’m behind a learner thought and I began to feel frustrated. I caught up with the car with the big red L on it at a junction and then as it went around the corner I noticed that there was only one person in the car. My attitude changed completely as I realized that I was behind a driving expert not a learner driver.
As I drove along it occurred to me that the Christian faith is a lot like one huge driving lesson. You have Jesus (the master and expert of life) and us (the people who are learning and making it up as they go along) traveling together.
Jesus said “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart.“ (Matthew 11.29)
The yoke was a heavy piece of wood that linked two oxen. Typically an older and younger animal would be paired, so that as they were linked the learner could benefit from the masters experience and leading.
Jesus is the master of life: Imagine a learner driver who thought they knew better than their instructor. Their drive is not going to end well. When you are learning to drive, you have to trust in the leading of your instructor. Sometimes your instructor saves you by pressing the brakes or by taking hold of the wheel but mostly they talk you through what you need to do. Jesus is with us always in life and he longs for us to let him lead and guide us.
Jesus is patient with us: Driving instructors must be amongst the most patient people in the world and it must be really encouraging when they see their patience and perseverance result in a student grasping and applying something. Jesus is patient with us and he loves us despite our imperfections, but it brings him real joy when we grow in life and faith.
Do a learners actions reflect on their instructor?: If someone passes their test and then drives carelessly and has an accident then it could make their instructor look bad even though it may not have been their fault. Sometimes Christians make mistakes and that would seem to reflect badly on Jesus, but we need to be clear that our mistakes are not his fault. On the other hand though, Jesus is completely to blame for our forgiveness and restoration. God has not finished with us yet!
Learner drivers are often good drivers: Although I get the sinking feeling when I am behind a learner driver and I am in a rush, my experience is that most of the time they drive really well. Sometimes as Christians we focus in on our mistakes rather than celebrating what Jesus has done and is doing in us. It’s good to be aware of and to celebrate ways that we are growing in life and faith.
As we travel through life, will we acknowledge Jesus who is with us always and allow him to be the instructor and Lord of our life?
If you want to read something I have written about Matthew 11 and what it means to be yoked with Jesus then click here.
As I wrote this yesterday, a friend of mine posted this video on Facebook. I hope it makes you smile.