I get a little nervous driving around town. This place is much larger than where we lived in Arkansas. Lots of traffic, people darting here and there, it’s enough to stress me out…but then, it doesn’t really take much to stress me out. The other day, I was leaving our church, trying to look both ways up and down a busy avenue, to see where I could “jump in”, when suddenly, I remembered learning to drive. I remembered how my dad would be in the passenger seat, gently (and sometimes not-so-gently) guiding me around Benton, Arkansas. He helped me see which streets were one way streets and when I could merge onto I-30. He even showed me shortcuts that I use to this day. I recall him saying things like, “Watch that truck.” “Slow down a bit.” “Veer to your right.” And, my favorite, “It’s clear. Go.”
As I was sitting in the driver’s seat, staring at an empty passenger seat, I found myself suddenly wishing that he was there, telling me it was safe to go. Not just safe to pull out onto Gore Boulevard, but to give me advice about everything. I wish I could talk to him. I wish I could ask, “How do I handle these critics, Dad?” and “What should I tell Lauren and Mitchell as they navigate their teen years?” and “How am I doing as a parent, Dad? Am I being consistent? Careful? Wise?” And then there’s the $64,000 question, “Are you disappointed in me?”
As I drove along that day, missing Dad, a comforting thought came to me: I do have a Father sitting beside me, not in the passenger seat, but with me always, through the Holy Spirit. I can – and do – cry out to my Father, asking the very questions I wish I could ask Dad. He answers me through the blessed Word of God, through the preaching of the Gospel, through prayer, and through other believers. Yes, just when I need it, He impresses a fellow Christian to offer a helping hand, a kind word, an invitation for fellowship, or maybe just a smile.
I’ll never again hear Dad’s voice say, “It’s all clear. Go.” But I do hear my Heavenly Father’s voice through His Word; I feel His unseen hand each and every day directing my path. And His counsel is even better than Dad’s.
Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. ~ Psalm 73:24