Let's consider a couple of hit songs from country singer Carrie Underwood. In "Jesus, Take the Wheel," she sings about a young mother whose car is sliding on an icy road, and just as she is about to crash she cries out for Jesus to save her. "Jesus, take the wheel," she sings, "take it from my hands 'cause I can't do this on my own."
In "Before He Cheats," Underwood sings the lyrics of a scorned woman and what she did to her unfaithful boyfriend. While he was off romancing another woman, she was demolishing his car, slashing its tires and leather seats, scratching the paint on its doors, and smashing its headlights with a baseball bat. "Maybe next time," she sings, "he'll think before he cheats."
Both songs resonate with people. Who hasn't cried out to God in desperation, and who hasn't plotted revenge on those who have hurt us? And yet it seems that we want to have it both ways. Why do we sing "Jesus, take the wheel" but not "Jesus, take the bat"?
We are too much like Jonah. He begged God to take the wheel of his life when he was swallowed by a huge fish (2:1), but he also wanted to hold on to the bat and take a few swings at his enemies in Nineveh.
When they repented and God relented, Jonah angrily complained to God, "Didn't I say before I left home that You would do this, Lord? . . . You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord!" (Jonah 4:2-3).
Likewise, we want God's help, but on our terms. We want God to forgive and rescue us, but we reserve the right to "smash the headlights" of those who have sinned against us.
God won't be played. If you have given Him the wheel of your life, hand over the bat. , Mike Wittmer, Our Daily Journey
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