Last week, while in Florida, we rented a car and were given a 2020 Toyota Corolla. When I drive, I love to use cruise control as it helps me stay consistent with my speed. When I don’t use cruise control, and just go with the flow of traffic or am distracted by my surroundings, I can often find myself going much faster than the speed limit. Cruise control helps me relax a bit – it’s one less thing to watch on the road.
But the cruise control in this rental car seemed to have a mind of it’s own. It would slow down and speed up on it’s own. Frustrated, I would turn it off, then turn it back on again and reset it. Before too long, it would do the same with thing. What was going on with this car?
Then I decided to try to learn what it was doing. I watched when and where it was slowing down, and when and why it would speed up. I learned that the car had “dynamic radar cruise control” that wouldn’t allow me to get any closer than three or four car lengths to the car in front of me before slowing down, especially if that car was going at a slower speed than me. If I moved into the passing lane where there was no car, it would speed up to the set speed. Amazing. This smart car was helping to keep me safe.
One time, a car was turning left in front of me, and I could see that it was safe to keep cruising at the same speed, but the car freaked out a bit and put the brakes on hard to avoid a crash. It couldn’t see the whole situation. There was no on-coming traffic, and the vehicle ahead of me was moving out of the way.
Lessons from a rental car.
I began thinking about this car in terms of my relationship with God. He has put things in my life to help safeguard me, for my protection, like this dynamic cruise control operates in the car. Because I’m not aware of what He is doing, I get frustrated, grumble, and try to do things my own way. I turn away from Him and try to fix things myself. I wonder why He isn’t helping. I miss the bigger picture.
On the other hand, just like the cruise control doesn’t mean that I don’t participate in the driving, He does expect me to keep alert and pay attention. I am not in a driver-less car. This is where I disagree with Carrie Underwood’s song, “Jesus Take the Wheel…I’m letting go.” As a co-creator with God, He expects me to keep my hands on the wheel. I don’t get to simply sit back and enjoy the ride, but I participate with Him to achieve the purpose for which He has created me. The cruise control is an aid, not a substitute. God helps me in various ways, but I am not a passive observer.
It was a good reminder for me.
I am thankful to be alive at a time like this and witness the amazing ingenuity that God’s co-creators continue to develop through technology. They may not give Him the credit for that ingenuity but you and I know that being made in the image of God, maker of Heaven and Earth, makes for pretty amazing people as well.