We live out in the country on 3.5 acres of pasture, trees, lawn, orchard, and … weeds. Lots and lots of weeds. I’ve got one of the handy-dandy green riding mowers, and when it’s not unbearably hot, I kind of enjoy riding around the lawn and the orchard on my riding mower. I get a real sense of accomplishment from mowing grass, and looking back on what I’ve mowed to see that beautiful green picture.
But, when I’ve got high weeds to deal with, and pasture that needs to be mowed, I use my small, blue Ford tractor. It’s old. It’s very old, in fact. The tires are nearly worn out. It’s got several hydraulic lines that seep or leak. But the bucket on the front goes up and down when it’s supposed to. And I’ve got a mowing attachment I can use on the back. So, when I need to get after the weeds on my place, I use my small, blue Ford tractor. Well, at least that’s what I had planned for last week, except …
Well, it’s about the steering wheel.
Last week, when I went out to start my tractor and mow my weeds, as I raised the front bucket and started to back up to the mow attachment, the steering wheel came off the tractor in my hands. I wasn’t pulling on it, or abusing it, or jiggling it to see if I could get it to come off in my hands. On its own. All by itself, and unannounced, that wheel responsible for navigating left and right turns … became unattached and a free moral agent, you might say. It was no longer connected to the tractor I was trying to drive. It was useless. A steering wheel that didn’t steer.
I didn’t ‘break’ it. You might say ‘old’ broke it. It finally wore out, and once it let go, it wasn’t about to go back to where it came from. It was finished steering, so I went online, and found another steering wheel that would work. In the meantime, I won’t be doing any mowing with my tractor.
I’ve been thinking about that steering wheel quite a bit since it came off in my hands. In fact, I may hang it in my office on one of the walls, as a reminder about ‘control’ and ‘direction’ and ‘steering.’ Many years ago, I determined and settled the issues of ‘control’ and ‘direction’ in my life. When I surrendered my life to Jesus, I determined and decided to follow Him. I relinquished need to steer, really. I asked Him to take control, as the captain of my life’s ship. And as I contemplate that steering wheel that came off in my hands, broken and unattached to anything, the uselessness of that wheel reminded me that the ‘steering’ of my life every day is in His firm grip, not mine. The Lord of the acreage of my life is determined to manage the weeds; weeds that grow up so easily in my path, whether I notice them or not.
He’s not like me. He doesn’t need some ‘wheel’ that He can turn. Instead, He uses His powerful Word as an agent to establish purpose, and meaning, and yes, direction. Prov. 23:19 in the Message says, “… listen, dear child—become wise; point your life in the right direction. His Word becomes a light, guiding and steering my way.
And, Prov. 11:14 says, “Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.”
I thank God for the people He strategically placed in my life in seasons when it seemed like my ‘steering wheel’ was broken; times when discerning God’s purpose and direction in my life made it seem as if I was as lost as a ball in high weeds.
I got an email today, informing me that my brand new tractor steering wheel has been shipped, and it’s on its way. I really need that new steering wheel for my tractor. But the steering for my life? No need for any kind of wheel. I’ve got Jesus to help me manage the high weeds.