I remember learning to drive at the age of 18 years old.
My tutor was a man in his fifties and I thought he was ancient then. Having surpassed him in age now, I think the fifties years were a scream.
We drive on the left side of the road in Singapore. My tutor had green (for green horns) Morris Minor with two large square L-plates (learner plates) attached each to the front and back mud-guards. The car had been specially modified for tutor and learner, with dual sets of pedals one each for me and him. Being nervous, he could not relinquish control of the car to me as he often jammed the foot brake for startling STOP! while I had my foot on the accelerator nearing the red light at fast speed and turning the sharp corners at a sure CRASH speed. With the other pedal he facilitated quick gear shifts when I overtook and needed extra oomph or slow-down was required and I was too dumb to know the dangers of a head-on collision or engineering a narrow escape crash into the opposite kerbside drain on then narrow two way streets.
We were always running on empty which I thought my tutor carefully planned to shorten the lessons with his death-defying proteges. He had my lesson route planned such that for an one-hour lesson, he would spend about 15 minutes break mid way during the lesson at a petrol station for fill-up, releasing his pent-up frustrations at the service station wash-room from which he always emerged with what was his very limited strands of hair neatly parted and combed compared to earlier, when anyone could tell he had had several nail-biting and frazzled-hair episodes with the Learner. He would have a few puffs on his self -rolled cigarette and then approach the car with reloaded “torrent” of Hokien dialect expletives which I did not understand when he spouted them during his heart attack panic points during the remaining minutes of my driving lesson. I used to wickedly think he had just enough money to fill-up for the next lesson from the fee he was paid by the previous learner but you be the judge.
I wonder, have I described our behaviour in our spiritual lives when we have been under attack from the enemy, when we insist on retaining control and act unlike children of God? Have we had little faith in the Driver and reacted violently and in what we thought pre-emptive ways to save the day? Instead to find out, the Driver had the car in control all along?
I beamed as the driving tester emerged from his side of the car, extended his hand of congratulations to me and said “you did well, congratulations!” It was my first attempt for the driving license and I had been in control all along during my driving lessons. You see, I had religiously studied the road traffic signs and their implications even before my first driving lesson, observed my dad driving me and my siblings to school for more than 10 years, observed all the traffic rules for controlling the car, showing hand signals on turning, slowing down or stopping (sadly no evidence of them any more on Singapore streets today) and parking rules within narrow parking lots. My tutor attributed his past bad experiences with his other learners to me and pre-emptivley jumped whenever he thought I would behave like the others when I did not.
Praise the Lord, I have driven several models of cars now for nearly forty years with no major hiccups except for a burst tyre, one empty tank and perhaps slight dents when vision was not so clear, or foot in time to jam the brake, or parking lots were too tight. Many Sunday School children and youngsters from the youth fellowships, foreign speakers have been transported to and from boisterous and fun-filled activities, services in safety through the years.
What a ride life has been, despite having run on empty before. I trust that like me, you have the joy of the Lord as your strength for living and service. Only Jesus can fill your heart to over-flowing with faith, trust and joy.