A few years ago, I sat my then six-year-old son on my lap in the car and let him take the steering wheel as we drove home from the bus stop. I kept my hands on the lower part of the steering wheel, just in case, and very slowly, we made our way to a stop sign where we needed to turn. As I applied the brake and stopped, my son became very insistent that he could make the turn on his own and begged me to remove my hands from the steering wheel. Reluctantly, I agreed and cautiously put pressure on the gas pedal. As we turned, it became evident that we weren’t going to clear it without landing in our neighbor’s front lawn! Much to my son’s dismay, I grabbed the wheel and corrected the turn just as we jumped the curb. I put the car in park and turned my son so he could see my face. I explained to him that driving is something that takes time to learn, that it isn’t like playing a video game or even the go-carts we had driven at the beach. I knew he was upset with himself, as evidenced by the tears that were threatening to spill over at any moment. This was when I heard that still small voice reminding me that I, too, like to grab the wheel and take control. I, too, like to take matters into my own hands. Yikes! Teaching moment!
With a fresher understanding and a lot more grace, I looked at my beloved child and explained that even I, an adult, understand how tempting it is to want to do things on your own without any help—and believe it or not, I still need plenty of help! My son looked at me thoughtfully and inquired,
Who helps you? Another teaching moment!
I am so grateful that God uses these practical, every day opportunities to remind us that He is always invested in our good, present in our mistakes, and eager to have that face-to-face connection with us when we are let down by our own wanderings. My hand on the steering wheel with my son’s was providence, protection, and wisdom, just as God’s hand on our life is. The Bible tells us in James 1:5 (HCSB),
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. On that sunny afternoon, not only was I able to generously share wisdom with my child, I was able to be a child who genuinely believes that I can boldly approach the throne and never be shamed, criticized, or left without help. Where we lack, God is always faithful and generous.