Who’s driving?

You’ve seen this prank Pepsi commercial from several years ago, right?

Jeff Gordon Pepsi Commercial

I recently came across it again and pondered a bit on the car salesman’s reaction. You know the reason he was freaked out, right? It’s because he had no clue who the driver really was. Had he known it was Jeff Gordon, professional race car driver, in control, I daresay his reaction would have been quite different.

Aren’t we a bit like this salesman? We get in this vehicle called life and all of sudden, it takes a turn for the worse, spins out of control and careens off the roadway. We scream, freak out, and fear for our lives. This wasn’t the trip we signed up for. We thought we were safe. We assumed there wouldn’t be any harrowing rides, just smooth sailing. We think, in fact, we’re a better driver, that our lives are far safer if we’re behind the wheel. Frankly, like the car salesman in the commercial, when things get dangerous we don’t trust the driver.

But, friends, in this ride of life do you really know who the driver is?

Do you know that he is God, the expert, the professional of all creation? He knows what He’s doing, even if your head is spinning and your world feels like a bad case of vertigo. I know you want out of the car. Trust me, I do. I know you wish this were just some horrible, sick joke of a nightmare, but you find yourself waking up to it daily. Sadly, your nightmare is your reality.

But, Friend, the driver isn’t some crazy kook. He isn’t out for a joy ride with your life, pranking you or jerking your chain. He wasn’t born yesterday. In fact, He existed even before the heavens and the earth…which He created, by the way. (Gen. 1:1-2) He knows exactly how this life works because He made it. He knows every twist and turn, every valley and peak of this round globe on which we spin. He commandeers this planet, and there is nothing that happens to us that He doesn’t work good out of. The Message puts it this way:

“…every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” Romans 8:28

What a difference it makes to know who’s driving when our world turns upside down. When we know who’s in control of this spinning vehicle called life, we experience what the world can’t comprehend: peace. (Phil.4:7)

Friend, do you feel like the salesman in the Pepsi commercial? Worried? Scared? Wanting to flee? Angry? Freaked out? Here’s the thing: Don’t wait until the ride is over to discover who’s really driving. Peace is possible when you trust the Ultimate driver.


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When despair is great

My Facebook newsfeed? It doesn’t take but 30 seconds of scrolling to discern that there’s a whole lotta people in this world hurting. A great majority are disappointed, many angry, and thousands have no hope. When the news headlines proclaim despair and decline, division and doubt, how do you escape it? How do you avoid getting sucked into the cesspool of negativity?

Friends, it isn’t easy staying out of the fray. In a society where keyboards have replaced face-to-face conversation, it can get downright messy in the flick of a keystroke. More often than not, the words flying from our fingertips cause more trouble than those exiting our mouths. You know I’m right, for who of us hasn’t read a few social media posts without witnessing the sting of rejection or the crack of fractured relationships? All because words were typed and tone of voice was assumed.

Image result for psalm 141:3

What do we do when this platform for discourse runs amok? I have a few suggestions:

  1. If at all possible, refrain from using the keyboard. It’s simply impossible to discern tone of voice over the internet. Many of us assume the tone of the person speaking, whether we know them or not. We play our own internal audio reel when we read and, more often than not, we insert an unfavorable tone that isn’t there. Better yet, meet in person. Resolve to talk face to face. Ask for clarification; a simple “What do you mean?” goes a long way. If a discussion in person isn’t feasible, try talking over the phone, Skype, or Facetime.
  2. Wait. Don’t respond until you are sure your emotions (and motives) are under control. Unless it’s a matter of life and death, waiting three days to reply is a good rule of thumb. I’ve often found waiting several days before responding gives me perspective I wouldn’t otherwise have discovered had I responded immediately.
  3. Look for the good. Don’t assume ill will. Don’t assume someone’s response or post is aimed directly at you or meant to hurt. Give the benefit of the doubt.
  4. Start praising God. Keep your eyes on Him. Watch Him working. Too often, the drama draws us in and promises to fulfill our rights. Too quickly we reply to prove a point. We badly want to show how right we are. Instead, step back and let God step in. Check your motives and ask God for wisdom.

When despair threatens, remember that hope is waiting. While despair shouts through a bullhorn, hope beckons with whispered voice. Hope is a small thing, but possesses unimaginable strength. Despair never leads you to the God of hope. Hope directs you to the Light. The world of social media can leave you feeling alone and despairing, but hope always shows up with a multitude of friends: joy, peace, love, and many others. Hope multiplies. She speaks, not lighting wildfires, but igniting a soft flame. Hope doesn’t incinerate others with her words, but keeps them warm with her glow. Are you without hope, dear one? Ditch despair and find a friend in hope.


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