Listening to the Teller-Driver

Our little grandson loves to ride with Papa in the golf cart.  Part of the thrill is that he thinks he’s in control. He likes to tell Papa where and when to turn. If he had his way, the rides would last much longer and go much further than they do.

Eventually though, Papa takes over and brings them home. But until the final decision is made, our grandson is in charge. He has designated himself the “Teller Driver” because he tells Papa where to go.

My first thought, when I heard “Teller Driver” was: that is what I do! I like to tell God where and when to turn on this life-long ride – but as I was thinking about this the other day, it occurred to me that I got that wrong. I’m not the Teller Driver… I’m the driver!

I can’t tell God where to turn or how far to go any more than our little grandson can tell his Papa where to turn or how far to go. Papa lets him dictate, but Papa has control over where that golf cart goes.

If I think for a moment that I can sit in the passenger seat of my life and tell God where to take me, I’m truly as naïve as this little pre-schooler. His innocence and credulity in thinking he is in charge is sweet. When I do it, it is ignorance and arrogance.

It is ignorance because it reveals how little I truly know about God. Yes, we draw parallels to God being the driver of the automobile of our lives. We tell people that they should get out of the driver’s seat and let God take control. We even sing songs about Jesus taking the wheel.

But, is he the driver in the car that is my life? Is he taking me where he wants me to go – even as I arrogantly sit in the seat next to him and tell him where we want to go? Do I not have a choice in where I end up? Or does he let me drive the entire time?

As I pour over the history of God’s people, it seems God regularly lets them go where they want to go. And as I look back over the history of my life, he has always let me go where I wanted to go. Did he drive me there, into the difficult, into the heartache, into the joys and celebrations? I don’t think so.

So, I conclude, I am the driver. And, it is God who is the Teller Driver. God sits close to me and gives me direction every moment of my life. Turn here. Stop here. Go there. Wait here. The only thing is: Do I listen, heed, or obey? Some of the time, I do, but not all of the time.

Sometimes I want to hurry up and get where I want to go, so I step on the gas and get going whether God has given me direction or not. And, when that happens, I might as well buckle up because I’m undoubtedly going to have a head-on collision with error. I’ve been down that road before.

There have been times when God used obstacles, things that slow me down or prompt a turn, to keep me on the right path, but if I’ve got my heart set on going or doing whatever it is that I want to do, I’ll jump a curb of godly wisdom and plow a path right through a weed field of destruction. I’ve had mud on my face more than once.

And, it is not unlike God to use a crisis or catastrophe to get my attention when I’m headed in the wrong direction. My Teller Driver is saying “Stop!” Ah, but then I just might blame him for the barricade while I push through even if it means plunging off a cliff where there is no bridge. There have been times when I’ve hurtled headlong into the depths of darkness. I do not like that place.

The best days are when I listen to my Teller Driver, go where he’d have me go, and accomplish what he’d have me do. Sometimes those trips take me through minefields, but I come through unscathed. Sometimes they are a ride in the park.

While God does let me drive the car of my life, and while he is right there telling me where to go, in those times when I don’t heed his direction, he doesn’t abandon me in my error. He lets me crash, but when I call out to him, he pulls me up, cleans me off, straightens out my alignment, and polishes up my dents and dings. And then he tells me again, which way to go.

Eventually, I know he will take the wheel and bring me home, and when he does, I’ll be ready to go, but like our grandson, I’ll probably wish the ride had been longer and that I had gone further.

Truth is, if I would just listen to my Teller Driver more, and go in the direction he is pointing me, I most likely would go further because I would avoid the delays my detours cost, and the time for the necessary repairs to get me road ready again.

Our Teller Driver is there with us. His Word tells us: Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)

 Sometimes he speaks in a quiet voice among the cacophony of noises vying for our attention. Sometimes he speaks in the thunder of our circumstances to get our attention. However, I believe he is a gentleman, he will never force us to go where we don’t want to go, or believe what we don’t want to believe. He lets us drive our car, whether toward obedience and peace or disobedience and destruction.

Where would your Teller Driver have you go? What obstacle is he using to direct you onto a different path? What danger signs has he erected for your guidance? Will you heed his direction? Will you go where he is leading?

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