Best of My Blog: Jesus Gets His License Revoked

July 16, 2012

I’m on vacation from home, work, and the blog July 16 – 27.  But that doesn’t mean the blog is going dark!  I’ll be featuring a couple of guest posts, a few reruns of some of my favorite posts you may have missed, and there will even be a fresh post on my new column at Prodigal Magazine.  Regular programming will resume Monday, July 30.

That's how he rolls.

So, I’ve got a question for you…

You know how some people like for Jesus to “take the wheel?”  You know, be their driver in life?

I guess that’s a nice sentiment.  Surrender, obedience and all that.  Maybe you like that Carrie Underwood song.  Maybe you like to think of Jesus as your driver.

Even if you never have thought of Jesus that way, many of you, my readers, have been at least trying to be Christians for a long time.  We’re trying to be Christ followers, disciples, whatever you like to call it.  Maybe we even let Jesus be our chauffeur around town…

But have you ever felt like Jesus took the wheel…and then drove your car into a ditch?

Ministry In the Ditch

Just this week, I got to talk to two pastors about my age.  They’re good guys.  They love Jesus.  They’ve tried to be faithful in ministry.  They aren’t in it for money or fame.

And they feel like their ministries are stuck.  Almost like doing things Jesus’ way isn’t working and the ministry is in a ditch.

I totally knew what they meant…because I started finishing their sentences.  It’s so easy to look at some guy who turned out to be a really crappy leader, and ask why God blessed him and not me.  Then you start asking what’s wrong with me?  Why can Pastor Toolbox work miracles and raise millions of dollars while I try to do things Jesus’ way, and it gets me nowhere?

And I’ve talked to so many pastors who just had to abandon the car in the ditch.  Despite their zeal to see people know Jesus, they burned out, and had to hitchhike somewhere else.

Life in the Ditch

I’ve also talked to a lot of people outside of ministry.  Hard working Christians who are just trying to get it together.  And despite all the prayers and devotion, life is just one crisis after another.  People can’t get out of unemployment or out of debt or get out of the hospital for very long before something else strikes.  Why is it that people flock to charlatans, but hard working, intelligent people are ignored in every workplace and walk of life?  I’m not talking about genuine persecution, but just the general sense I get from so many people that life kind of sucks, despite lifelong devotion to God.

I’ve talked to people who have made enormous life decisions based on what they felt was the voice of God.  They moved to a new city, married someone, took a job, tried to start a new ministry.  And then everything backfired.  They felt like they were led into a trap.  Things just fell apart.

Jesus Gets His License Revoked

This is one of those posts where I don’t have a definite answer.  I’d love one from you.

Some of you are probably thinking that people whose life sucks have some hidden sin in their life.

Or maybe the answer is they aren’t really following Jesus.  Or Jesus is allowing them to be tested.  Or someone didn’t actually hear from Jesus and just made a stupid mistake.

Maybe those are the answers.  But I don’t know.  Because it sure seems to me that there’s a lot of people who are stuck in a ditch.  I guess that’s a consolation: a lot of us are in the same ditch.

Tell me about it: have you ever felt like Jesus drove you into a ditch?  Despite your best intentions, your hardest work, your most sincere devotion, have you ever found yourself stuck?  Did Jesus lead you there or is God never responsible when the car crashes?  How did you get out?

7 responses to Best of My Blog: Jesus Gets His License Revoked

  1. Nothing deeply philosophical to contribute … I just know God allows the rain to fall on the just AND the unjust. Sometimes rains of blessing; sometimes torrents that turn into torrential flood waters. Either way, something often gets exposed that He wants to deal with. And either way, “He works all things together for good …. ” etc.

  2. I should go back and read what I wrote last time but life is always going forward, and I am changing, stretching, learning and failing. The good news is that God never changes.

    God allows sin and evil in the world, and that is the way it is. How we deal with it is really the only variable. There still seems to be an attitude of God needs to be fair, God needs to fix this, take care of that, not allow that to happen and the list of requests and notions goes on. How self centered.

    The Bible teaches us that through our faith all things are possible, it’s just that we have to be in the will of God. in America at least, we have the notion that the American Dream is ours – our cars, TVs, college educations, 2.3 kids, an iPod, a 40 hour work week with great pay, lots of time off and a great boss. How self centered.

    If we look at the disciples, they gave up their day jobs to hang out with Jesus. They saw some stuff, but it took faith. I mean even Thomas saw Lazarus raised from the dead, and he was the first one to break off a piece of multiplying bread on the hillside. I pretty sure the it challenged Tomas.

    Jesus said, I do what I see the Father doing, yet few Christians are ever taught to hear God. They just toss a few thousand prayers in the air and see what God does. Then it’s a blessing if it turns out how they want it, if not, somehow they feel deserving of the disappointment of whatever calamity happens. How self centered.

    The reward for Christians is the presence of God here – the Kingdom that is here. This is what Paul and Silas went through in the prison cell, these are the trials Peter spoke about. But most of us want trial-less Christian lives. How self centered.

    Jesus has a real plan and it unfolds as we have deep (Song of Songs) relationship with Him. It doesn’t come from education i the Greek or Hebrew, or reading a book, it comes with spending time with the Master and doing whatever it is that He is doing in us.

    I have had lots of things go wrong over my lifetime.Some of it because I made bad choices, others because God was bringing me to a destiny he had before the foundations of the world. The more i am able to hear God, the easier it is to move towards that destiny. The more I try to figure it out – well, the more frustrated I become with God. So here I am, I lost my 6 figure job a few weeks ago, I had shoulder surgery last week, my older kids lost their mother to cancer, and I am still bless in my relationship with God. I have some ministry opportunities that I could never take on with a f-t job. I have an awesome wife, and love being with my family. Folks at my church are praying for me, and I am at peace – so at peace I feel like sleeping the back of the boat. My beloved communes with me more and more – and no I don’t when I will have a job, or if it wise to drop a few hundred bucks on an unknown ministry opportunity – but my Daddy in heaven does. :)

  3. After reading this post, I reflected on Jesus’s life. He had a good thing going with his ministry. He had a good number of followers. He had every chance to escape being crucified and die on the cross. But somehow he knew that it was his destiny, and something good came out of it. In fact, it was best thing that happened – He resurrected from the dead and he conquered the grave. All I’m saying that maybe in this “ditch” that you are referring, something good will come out. All it takes is faith. Jesus handed down his steering wheel to his Father and the most beautiful thing happened. Jesus’s faith is one that we should aspire to have in order to get out of these so called “ditches” in our journey with God.

  4. I’ve driven my car into a ditch. I’ve followed people into a ditch. I’ve narrowly missed the ditch from not paying attention or getting sleepy. There is a parable in each ditch. The amazing thing is that God always got me out of the ditch. That does not mean that there stops being ditches along the sides of the roads.

    And along with the ditches, I really don’t like being stuck in a rut with my car getting all muddy while others appear to be flying along just fine. But truth be told, there are times they feel the same way.

  5. It comes down to perspective: Do you see your circumstances based on your notions of God, or are your notions of God based on what you see in your circumstances?

  6. Amazing post, and David this is a very good response. It sort of ties into people not really knowing God personally. What I mean is that if one only knows God from what the pastor in the pulpit preaches of Him (which that’s where I was) they won’t know Him. That’s like trying to know ones’ spouse through their sibling. Christians have a saying that God is the same yesterday, tomorrow, and forever. Well many don’t know that is His word, and that being His word fail to remember He is the same God that that said to lean not on our on understanding, because we can’t FULLY understand His infinite wisdom with our finite minds. So as a result many have compartmentalized Him into this box where He is suppose to just make it roses and sunshine for us all, ALL the time. If He’s “blessing/ giving” us stuff He’s happy, if He’s taking something away He’s upset because we’re sinning. That is not the case!! One scripture that I attempt to embed into memory is to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matt 6:33), paired with 1 Corinthians 7:31, doing things in this world if it’s not for the glory of God is pointless. So whether it be in a ditch/out, with a job/without, having car, clothes, a house, I will be thankful for what was given, BUT oh how I know I’m undeservent! Our tasks is to love God with everything that we have, and then to love people. THAT’s IT! In EVERY situation! Cause the devil wants to win, and he does when either of those two: loving God or people stops.
    But I could be wrong…..

  7. ..I know exactly what you mean. The way I look at it factors in three main things, the first being: We live in a fallen world. To put it bluntly (like some of the people you talked to), life *does* kind of suck. But that’s only because this isn’t the whole movie. This is just the part at the beginning that makes you realize how awesome things really are at the end. Second: We’re not puppets. God has given us free will and, unfortunately, that means that all of those maybe not-so-well-intentioned people around us also have free will. So sometimes they do things, or set into action a course of events, that seems to mess up our plan. But it’s only *our* plan – not God’s. His plan is always good to go! Nothing that happens surprises Him; it just catches us off guard. He’s like the ultimate GPS system, so even if your car’s in a ditch as long as you hold onto His hand you can start walking :) And third: I like to think, when nothing seems to be going right and my car is not only stuck in a ditch but completely upside down and out of gas (and any other thing that could possibly be wrong with a car) that maybe I’m just looking in the wrong direction. Maybe God’s trying to tell me to take a boat ;)