Updated: Mar 11
Sometimes I find it hard to believe how much I used to enjoy driving. Nowadays, I'd just as soon let someone else take the wheel, or even hop on a bus so I can just appreciate the scenery.
For many years, I drove long distances as part of my job. During that time, Jesus found me again. That's why I always left the front seat open- throwing my bag, supplies, and trash in the back.
Because the front seat was where Jesus sat during some really long and wonderful conversations.
“Here you go!”
My father tossed me the small brass pieces that changed my life forever. No longer was I confined a walking distance. No longer was I dependent on others to take me where I wanted to go.
I was a driver!
Those keys opened wonderful new adventures. I drove to the beach, the mountains, the city, and everywhere in between. I traveled north to Maine and south to the Carolinas with nothing packed but the spare tire. It was a time of freedom; a time of discovery.
When I found Christ later in life, it was like I got a new set of keys. My Heavenly Father gave me the keys to a new life; a new adventure; a new road map to follow. And I couldn’t wait to drive!
And every time I started toward my new ride, no matter where I was going or what I was planning, Jesus yelled out, “Shotgun!”
Jesus was always in the front seat. Everyone could see that He was my best friend. He was waving out the window and playing with the radio every day. He always seemed to know the safest and fastest route. He knew how to deal with every warning light. When I had trouble seeing signs, He would point them out to me.
Life was pretty sweet.
But one day, I met someone else and started to bring him along on our travels. Initially, my new friend jumped in the back. But one day, he beat Jesus to the punch and took over the shotgun position.
Jesus was still in the car and nearby, but He got a little quieter. Talking and enjoying the ride with my new friend, it was easy to forget Jesus was back there sometimes. There were more and more days when it seemed I barely spoke to Him.
Eventually, we met other friends and the car started getting a little crowded. Jesus was sharing the back seat with two or three others and started getting crunched.
The new guys were excited to be there and I was excited to have them with us. Jesus was lucky to get a word into any conversation. Even when I asked Him for directions, the other friends would answer for him. Eventually, I found myself just following their advice.
I didn’t even realize it when they stuck Jesus in the trunk. “Just a prank,” they said. Now no one could tell that Jesus was with me! They saw me driving around with my new friends, making a lot of noise, oblivious to everyone else, it seemed.
Then I got a flat tire. While grabbing the spare, I found Jesus back there. I felt awful. I apologized profusely. The others were laughing as Jesus helped fix the tire.
I knew my neighbors loved Jesus. What would they think if they saw He was in my trunk? I wanted everyone to know that Jesus was still important, but there was no room in the car anymore.
So I asked him to ride on the hood like an ornament. Now everyone could see Him and know that he was with me.
But riding on the hood didn’t let Him talk to me. My other friends were making so much ruckus, I didn’t even notice when Jesus tried to point me to a better route.
Finally came the day when I didn’t even bring Jesus along for the ride. I left Him in the house while my other friends fought over who would ride shotgun and overloaded my car with their stuff.
It was hard to believe how many friends I had and how much stuff they brought with them. I was admiring all their wonderful things and thinking how great life is when it happened.
Bam! My car was wrecked.
I woke up in pain, trapped behind the wheel in a pile of sharp glass and torn metal. Every little movement cut and tore my skin. I called out to the others and heard only silence.
Struggling to look for them, I realized they had run off. I was abandoned, bleeding, and trapped. I wondered if I was dying. And that’s when I saw Him, standing next to the car.
“Jesus!” I said, “Help me?”
Jesus smiled as He reached out. And I realized I wasn’t trapped in that car after all.
We walked across the street to another car. I could barely look Jesus in the face as I muttered sheepishly, “I did it again, didn’t I?”
He nodded and wrapped His arms around me. And as he stepped back just a bit, he threw a brand-new set of shiny keys in the air and yelled, "Shotgun!"
And I wonder just how long I can keep this car on the road.