Herald Journal Columns
July 21, 2003 Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

There are no brakes on the right side of the car

By Rev. Julie Malone, Mt. Hermon Lutheran Church, Albion Township

Getting out of bed this morning I noticed the muscles in my right leg were quite sore.

Initially I was puzzled as to why that might be, but as the morning progressed I recalled the events of the day before.

Yesterday my 21 year old son and I took a trip to the Twin Cities. He drove. I rode 'shotgun.' And much to our dismay, I too often found myself stepping on the "imaginary" brake on the passenger's side of the car.

On the road trip of life, we all have times in our lives where we find ourselves facing fear and uncertainty, when things are happening way too fast or not going in the direction we want them to go.

Our knee-jerk reaction is to slam on the brakes ­ to hopefully slow things down, to take a different turn, to return to a more safe speed and certain course. But to our frustration ­ nothing happens. We are not in the driver's seat.

For instance, someone very close to you is given a dire diagnosis from the doctor . . . your now-adult children make choices you wish they wouldn't . . . you are forced to come to grips with the reality of an aging family member . . . you show up for work and get a pink slip rather than a paycheck . . . your spouse wants 'out'.

You seem to have no choice but to buckle up and hang on.

I challenge you to look at the other side of this driving analogy. When you are speeding through life, making rash decisions, going down the wrong roads, when evil cuts you off or is riding alongside you in your blind spot ­ Jesus is there right beside you.

However, his muscles aren't sore from trying to put on the brakes. He is not sitting there fraught with panic and fear and harsh opinions. Rather, he applies patience, trust, love, acceptance and forgiveness ­ not the brakes.

On the road trip of life, we at times may feel like helpless passengers wrought with anxiety and uncertainty. We have much to learn from our divine passenger.

Instead of facing the panic times with fear and trepidation, pray for the strength and courage to apply love and forgiveness, patience and acceptance, and most importantly, faith and trust in Jesus.

In hindsight I know our trip yesterday would have gone much smoother had I done the same.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

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