Who’s in the Driver’s Seat?
Going for a ride in your car can be dangerous. And life in the fast lane can be especially treacherous.
There have been several tragic and fatal car accidents in the news this past week; two that are remarkable in their unique circumstances. One occurred at the Las Vegas speedway and the other at the intersection of Route 30 and Jessup Avenue near Marshalltown, Iowa.
The auto accident death with the highest national and international impact was that of IndyCar-driver Dan Wheldon. He moved from England to the U.S. to be able to race in the Indy 500, which he called, “the biggest sporting event in the world.” Wheldon fulfilled his dream by twice winning the Indy 500.
This past week Wheldon was competing in the Las Vegas Indy 300 when the racing career of this 33-year-old came to an abrupt end, as did his life.
According to an article on the NASCAR website, “Wheldon started last in the 34-car field and was up to 24th quickly, but still well behind the first wave of cars that got into trouble on the fateful lap. Still, he had no way to avoid the wrecks in front of him. There was no time to brake or steer out of trouble. His car sailed into the fence extending high over the track barrier, and about two hours later, his death was announced.”
It was reported on ABC news later that he had died instantly from blunt force trauma to the head.
The other tragic accident referred to in my opening paragraph was that of Gordon and Norma Yeager of State Center, Iowa. The Yeagers were 72-year “marriage veterans”. Gordon (94) and Norma (90) had gone for an early morning drive that ended in their deaths several hours later. Their vehicle was hit by another car when Gordon failed to yield as he pulled away from a stop-sign into the path of another vehicle. There was no time for the driver of the other car to stop.
Gordon and Norma both died later that afternoon holding hands in the ICU room where they had been placed together.
Though “accidents happen” there are tragedies in this world that seem to be “other directed”.
Of all people, race drivers are aware of potential danger accompanying the thrill of racing, but are willing to take the risk. But, how many IndyCar races have there been at the Las Vegas track with no such pile-up as the one this past week?
How many people would consider it a risk to go for a morning drive? How many times have you or someone you’ve been riding with failed to look carefully before entering traffic from a side-road and have been spared from an accident, rather than becoming a victim?
There are other forces at work here.
Recently I spoke for a Christian women’s group in Sherbrooke, Quebec. On my way to Sherbrooke I picked up a friend in Newport, VT. On our way out of town on the evening before the speaking engagement, it was after dark as I approached an intersection where I clearly had the green light. Just as I increased my acceleration, a driver coming toward me suddenly took a left turn in front of me, cutting me off. I slammed on my brakes, stopping about 1½ feet from his front side passenger door.
About 35 minutes later, when my adrenalin pump had returned to normal output range, we were driving on a dark country road, when my passenger suddenly said, “A deer!” Only I thought she said, “Oh dear.” So I responded, “What’s up?”
She then almost shouted, “NO, A DEER!!!” To which I quickly responded with a foot on the brake pedal (adrenalin is a powerful, quick-action hormone) as “Bambi” bounded across the road. The deer had come in from my left in a blind spot created by the panel where the front windshield and the side window come together.
Another force was at work that night – one who did not want me to arrive safely in Quebec; one that did not want me to share my testimony with the women’s group the next morning. I rebuked that force in the name of Jesus. Thankfully, another power was with me that night.
My husband had a “driving” dream earlier this week. In the dream David was on a road not far from our house. He was riding in the passenger seat; no one appeared to be on the driver’s side. There was a steering wheel on his side of the van, another on the driver’s side, and one in the backseat. He was trying to steer with the wheel in front of him, but the car wouldn’t go where he attempted to direct it. He thought of switching over to the driver’s side of the car to use that steering wheel, but there was no seat on the driver’s side. It was scary to have absolutely no control. David woke up, glad to find himself in bed instead of in an uncontrollable vehicle.
I believe that David’s dream contained a message from God: it’s a message to all of us.
“My child, you’re in the passenger seat. I didn’t put a seat on the driver’s side of your ministry vehicle because I’m the driver, not you. There is a steering wheel in front of you and you will often feel like you should be doing something to steer the ministry. I will sometimes let you steer, but only when you take time to get directions from me. When the vehicle seems to be going out-of-control, turn to me. I will always be in the vehicle with you and will take over the controls any time you ask – trust me.
“The steering wheel in the back seat represents others who will try to steer your ministry course. Don’t let backseat drivers control the vehicle. Pay attention to me and you will not become a fatality of a wrecked ministry.”
How about you? Do you ever feel like your life has spun out of control? Or someone else is steering from the backseat? And just when you think you’ve regained control of the steering wheel, it seems to be disconnected from the tires on the ground? You’re heading toward a pile-up on the track and you can’t stop or steer around it.
How do you get back in control? Or should you even be in control? Are we ever really in control?
Long ago I surrendered my life to God. I asked Him to take over the controls of my life. I have to admit that there are times when I try to steer from my side of the car – the passenger side. But the Lord has allowed things in my life that are beyond my ability to control – I cannot dictate the outcome – such as dealing with cancer. But I can leave the driving up to my Heavenly Father, knowing that as I follow His leading, as I put my full trust in Him and His love for me, He will see that it all comes out just as He has planned.
There are no accidents where God is concerned. Though there is another force that would like to destroy me, as on my trip to Quebec, “greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world”. My Savior is in the driver’s seat and that is where I want Him to remain.
Who’s behind the steering wheel in your life? You or God?
©2011, Marcy Alves
- Dan Wheldon dies in tragic IndyCar finale (topgear.com)
Posted on October 22, 2011, in Christian Growth, Follow Me, God Encounters, In the News, My Journey, Reflections and tagged back-seat drivers, Christianity, control, Dan Wheldon, dreams, driver’s seat, drivers, God, Gordon & Norma Yeager, Indy 300, Indy 500, Jesus, Las Vegas Indy 300, race car drivers, racing accidents, tragic accidents. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.