I’ve been operating machinery since I was a young lad, even mowing my neighbor’s lawn when I was eight years old. That’s probably not a good idea, and I wouldn’t recommend having your child try this at home. By age 11 or 12, I graduated to the lawn tractor! I drove a 1966 Triumph Spitfire (four-speed manual transmission) and a 1978 Chevy Nova (rear wheel drive, three on the tree, three-speed standard transmission with the shifter on the steering column) when I got my driver’s license at age 16. I’ve driven many different types of vehicles: manual and automatic transmissions, a dump truck, a UPS package car (the brown delivery “truck” you see in your neighborhood). I’m well-versed, as many of you are, in driving a vehicle.
Little of this experience prepared me for what I faced on the highways and byways of Central Ohio. Drivers running red lights which had been red for at least three to four seconds. Drivers pulling out in front of you while you are going 55mph and then insisting on going 25mph. Drivers cutting you off at highway speeds. Drivers texting, putting on makeup, or even reading while driving. Drivers not paying attention (probably texting) when the light turns green so only two cars are able to get through. I’ve used my horn to communicate with people about the dangerous things they do. I haven’t used any sign language, but I’ve thought some not-so-appropriate thoughts and have said a few things under my breath. Have you been there? If you drive in Central Ohio, you’ve been there. Then there is the “white death” (the quarter-inch of snow) causing traffic to be slowed to a snail’s pace while cars head to the ditches because it seems too few drivers know how to operate in less-than-ideal conditions.
You’re probably wondering what this has to do with a Pastors’ Blog on biblical truth and why Pastor Gary is going on and on about driving in Central Ohio…
Here’s why: driving in Central Ohio has a great way of revealing what’s in our hearts. Jesus, in Matthew 15:15–20, Luke 6:43–45, and Matthew 12:34 says, in essence, that what someone does and says comes from the heart. Driving in Central Ohio, with all the “interesting” things drivers do, nudges our heart so to speak (hopefully not our car) and reveals what is in our heart.
This same principle applies to relationships with friends, neighbors, co-workers, spouses, and children. Since we act and speak from that which fills our heart, we should pause when we say “If she didn’t, than I wouldn’t have…” or “If that didn’t happen, I would have…” or “They made me say…”
The Scriptures point the finger to the individual’s heart, not so much on the outside circumstance. Granted, people do things that wound, hurt, and are not good that can and do impact us deeply. When harsh words wound you deeply or when you’re driving in Central Ohio, we must learn to take a step back. Somehow our hearts must change! The great news is that the Word of God and the Holy Spirit can change our hearts so that when we’re driving or in a situation that is not good, we can handle ourselves in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. Think you have a handle on this? It will be tested every time you venture out onto the streets of Central Ohio.
Want to start the change process right now, when you’re not behind the wheel? Begin to pray Psalm 139:23,24. God will answer your prayer. Hopefully you’ll be able to handle the truth.
Put your seat belt on, be safe out there, and seek God for heart change.
Gary Webb is the Adult Ministries Pastor. He and his wife, Beth, were transferred down to Columbus from Toledo in 1988 while he worked for UPS. Gary worked as an engineer for over 12 years for UPS and Children’s Hospital. During those years the Webbs became involved at Grace. He joined the pastoral staff in 2000. Gary studied engineering (University of Toledo) and theology (Grace Seminary). Gary enjoys coaching, running, biking, swimming and hiking. Gary and Beth have three adult children and three grandchildren.