This morning on my way to school I came up with an analogy. I’ll admit, it’s kind of weird (that’s not even an exaggeration!), and I’m not even sure where it came from. I’m sharing this with you because typing it up seemed like a good way to be productive while procrastinating on my research paper. Before I share it, I want to list a couple of reasons to try to explain this one…
1) I’ve been on allergy meds for a few weeks
2) I’m a little sleep deprived
3) I’ve been studying surrealism in Humanities recently (I’d like to argue this has absolutely nothing to do with it, but you never know….)
So here it is:
I’ve never had a big problem with road rage, but whenever I’m running late and get behind a big semi-truck going 55mph on interstate trying to pass another big semi-truck who is also going 55mph on interstate, I usually slip into prayer mode so my horn doesn’t take a fatal beating. This morning, though, I came up with this…
Trucks. Not little pick-ups or half-deceased ones like my Dad’s, but big 18-wheeler trucks (bear with me, I’m just getting started). They’re similar to cars in that they’re automobiles, but at the same time, they’re supposed to be different. They’re made for bigger purposes.
Some trucks are trying to compete with each other. They’re both traveling in the same direction, but one’s constantly trying to outdo the other one. Like the ones on interstate that frustrate me. All of the other cars are driving behind them, like, “You’re both so annoying and neither of you are going fast anyway, so stop trying to compete!” (Apparently in my head everything sound like teenage girls). In the end, then, they don’t really give the other cars a good impression of big trucks, because they’re too caught up in being faster than the other one and aren’t concerned with traffic.
Next you’ve got the ones that have graffiti or whatever all over them. They call themselves big trucks that transport stuff for big, important companies, but at the same time, they’re not all that different. The other cars are looking at them and saying, “they’re supposed to be well-kept trucks projecting a good image for their company, but they’re covered in graffiti like we’re covered in bumper stickers. I look just as good—if not better—than they do, and I’m not even representing a corporation.”
There are also the ones that make other cars wonder what kind of driver they’ve got. These big guys cut you off in traffic, ride your bumper, swing way into the other lane when they turn, etc. The other cars know the truck is supposedly driven by this specially-licensed driver with lots of experience, but you can’t really tell, you know? It’s like the truck has a mind of its own and does what it wants without letting the driver have any influence.
Now let’s change gears (completely unintentional pun, I promise! But it is kinda clever, right? Anyway…) On the other end of the spectrum, there are the plain, white trucks. They’re not marked up by graffiti, but they don’t tell what company they transport for, either. They kind of just drive along and no one pays them any attention because, honestly, they’re just boring. No excitement and nothing to draw your attention to them. They may be clean and well-kept, but it doesn’t really matter because they blend in and just get the job done.
I guess by now it’s pretty obvious that some big trucks have reputations (don’t get me wrong, though. Some are really nice). They’re constantly trying to outdo the other, they’re marked up, or they’re just uninteresting. The other cars wonder why they’re competing if they’re both just serving a company and will end up at the same place anyway. Why do they look like they do if they’re supposedly part of this big company? Why would the head of a corporation take any pride in a truck that looks good, but isn’t putting forth any extra effort?
You still with me? Sweet.
Want to know the method to my madness? Frankly, I do to. Let me try to get down to it. Every time you see the word “cars” in the little illustration up there, replace it with the words “everyday people.” Every time you see a reference to a big truck, replace it with the word……….Christians.
I’m a Christian, which I guess makes me a big truck. My driver is God; I listen to Him for guidance and direction and behave in a way that pleases Him. Or at least, I’m supposed to. I fail a lot. I let selfishness and jealousy take the wheel and think I can be a “better” Christian than other people, when I’m supposed to be working alongside them to share Christ’s love. Sometimes I act like the rest of the world, and sadly it may be hard to tell I have the Holy Spirit living in me. At times I’m being a “good Christian girl,” but I’m not stepping out of my comfort zone to reach out to other people, so how “good” does that really make me anyway?
If you’re living for God (and if you don’t, please know it is the single most meaningful, satisfying relationship you will ever have!), you’re supposed to be set apart.
In John 15:19, Jesus says,
“As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.”
And then a verse that’s very special to me says,
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is; his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” –Romans 12:2
You work for a boss Who is not just another CEO. He’s holy, all-knowing, desires to help those who love Him, and is so very patient and loving. He even calls those who serve Him His friends!
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” –John 15:15
So we should be loving those who are in the world, but remembering we’ve been called to represent Jesus in a world that desperately needs to know about how He died so we could live.
You know what? I don’t even want to be a truck. Really, I don’t. And it’s because the trucks operate just like the rest of the world. We’re not of the world, so we shouldn’t just be going with the flow of traffic, you know?
Instead, I totally want to be an airplane! Think about it: They’re in the world, but they’re not of the world because they have a higher calling (is it still a pun if I’m being completely serious?) Their main objective is to help people get from point A to point B safely and before it’s too late. They’re in constant communication with the command center that governs the skies, and they’re so well-equipped that they can handle whatever comes their way. Sure, sometimes they malfunction. When they don’t operate like how the pilot instructs, they fall hard and fast. And sometimes they crash. Everyone experiences a little turbulence in their lives every now and then. But we’ve got to remember to keep listening to and obeying our Pilot because He is very capable of keeping us safe.
Jesus has actually been through everything we’re going through, so nothing is a surprise to him. Check out Hebrews 4:15-16,
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with me. How about one more semi-cheesy analogy? You’ve already endured a ton:
God doesn’t want to be your co-pilot. He wants to be the pilot. Trust him with the wheel and see how much better life is when you don’t have to worry about the road ahead, how much you can handle, or how bright your light is shining. Let Him take care of your situation, whatever it is, and let Him take care of you. Yeah, you’ve made some wrong turns, you’ve run some red lights, and you’ve tested the speed limit, but He’ll forgive you. He loves you. He’s already taken your sins upon Himself and died, so you don’t have to go through it yourself.