In a life of faith. it is important to know when to put the brakes on and when to accelerate. Without that knowledge, we will collide with things we could have avoided.
I remember being trained as a young cop how to drive defensively. Our trainer was a man with a Southern drawl who crewed for Richard Petty of stock car racing fame. One day on a defensive driving course our trainer taught us how to avoid an obstacle in our path while traveling at 55 mph.
In the maneuver, we had to avoid an obstacle in our lane, change lanes safely, and keep moving forward without spinning out. A cone was placed on the track designating the obstacle. We were to approach the cone at 55 mph and then do something I had never considered. At the cone, we were instructed to do a hard tap on the brakes and then turn the steering wheel abruptly to avoid the cone. Immediately after the brake tap, we were instructed to punch the accelerator as we turned into the next lane.
Tapping the brakes and accelerating did two things. First, the braking pressed the tires hard against the pavement to increase traction. The tires of my patrol vehicle became glued to the pavement. At that point, we turned our steering wheel sharply into the next lane while hitting the accelerator. During the acceleration portion of the maneuver, the same thing took place. My tires maintained their traction through the turn. Without my tires pressing tight against the pavement through all aspects of the turn, I would have spun out. At the beginning of the training day, such a maneuver made no sense to me. When we finished our training session, it made complete sense.
In our lives when we come upon an unexpected obstacle in our path, at first, we are shocked. Many times, we simply slam on the emotional brakes and come to a skidding stop when the Lord wanted us not to stop but to change lanes and keep moving.
When a marriage fails, a deep betrayal takes place in a friendship, or a financial crisis appears in the roadway of our lives, these events will not become fatal crashes if we believe life exists beyond these painful experiences. God can help us change lanes and keep going if we learn how to cultivate a belief that a life of hope exists beyond such sorrows.
Faith, like defensive driving, involves learning how to maneuver around impossible odds change lanes, and keep living. Our defensive driving trainer said something profound. He said, “Your car can do a lot more than you realize if you have been properly trained.” The same is true for our faith.