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About the Writer:

Depth, compassion and love are the tools Carol uses in her written communication. She paints pictures with words and develops concepts into application. As a mother of two daughters, one twelve years old and the other two years old, Carol is busy but makes time to express what she is learning about God in her life.


Take The Wheel

By Carol Ilbery

Jesus, Take the Wheel, sung by Carrie Underwood

Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can't do this all on my own
I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
To save me from this road I'm on
Jesus take the wheel

The song “Jesus, Take the Wheel” was on the radio tonight as we went out to eat. Chrystal, my oldest daughter, has been telling me of this song for weeks and was thrilled when it was played. Normally when someone builds up something like that, I’m a little disappointed in whatever it is when I finally get to hear or see it. This time, the song flooded my mind with moving pictures as the words filled the van.

The story—as it’s a country song and practically all country songs tell some sort of story—is of a mother driving home for Christmas with her new baby in the back seat. She is tired, it’s late, and her mind is on a million other things other than what she’s doing—driving. The car hits some black ice and spins out of control. As usual, it happens so quickly that she can’t cry and doesn’t scream—just has flashes of their lives go before her eyes; and so she lets go of the wheel and says, “Take the wheel, Jesus, take the wheel.”

Then, it’s over. She’s on the side of the road, tears streaming down her face as she looks in the back seat where her baby is still sound asleep. And she prays, for what she admits is the first time in a long time. She apologizes for how she’s lived her life, admits to Jesus that she can’t do it on her own, asks for one more chance and asks him to “take the wheel.”

This is the gist of the song. I’m amazed at how accurate this is to various points in my life and how God has taken an event to wake me up. I think it’s safe to say that we are all like this song writer—we get caught up in life and things that tend to carry us away from Christ, away from talking with him and hearing what He has to say to us. And so we go on, day by day until He grabs our attention; something in our life spins out beyond our control in order to pull us back to Him. It’s His alarm clock for us and one that, if we choose to ignore, gets louder and louder with each passing day. That’s not to say that all suffering comes from Him; it’s just to say that He uses it to bring us back. When we come closer to Him and rely on Him, our focus leaves the chaos in our lives and Christ is now the center of our view. Then, before we know it, we are through the storm.

How many times in my life things have been going along so smoothly that obligations pile up on top of each other and I start to lose track of what’s important. Oh, I remember my children and my husband; keeping the house picked up and food out to eat for meals; feeding the animals and paying the bills, though the latter ones aren’t eternally important, they are responsibilities that have been granted to me. What I mean when I say ‘what’s important’ is Jesus and my relationship with Him. I still pray and talk with Him, but it doesn’t seem to be on the same level as when I am in the midst of something in my life being out of control, a crisis. I read the Bible more in a crisis. I talk with others who are fellow believers more in the midst of various times of suffering.

And so, this song reminds me of my life, how I need those times of suffering and when things are spinning out of control I can cry out to Him, “Take the wheel, Jesus.” Strange, though, isn’t it? I never would have thought, several weeks ago before studying 1 Peter, that I would say that. This song and 1 Peter have a single common thread, though one not as obvious as the other, that through suffering we come closer or back to Him; we become stronger in Him. While the car spinning out of control is a brief thing, the song doesn’t mention what other suffering she might have been going through. Perhaps the near-accident was the final straw—the last thing she could take to bring her back to Him. Either way, she relinquished it to Him, brought closer to Jesus while things spun out of control, even if for a brief second or two.

And, one thing that comforts and amazes me is that, in the end, it will all glorify Him. How awesome is that? While we suffer and question the suffering in the midst of it, we grow closer to God, AND He gets the glory for how we made it through. One might ask just how He gets the glory. It’s through the comfort one feels or receives from family and friends and/or the church family; it’s when we tell someone just how the perfect job came to be ours; the perfect timing of money for a much needed doctor’s appointment or emergency bill; the healing of an illness; it’s how the car got to the side of the road safely through no work of our own; or just plainly how things were just…well, just better.

Suffering doesn’t depend on whether we are close to Him or we have drifted away, but it depends only on the fact that He loves us dearly.


Copyright © December 3, 2005 – Carol Ilbery. All rights reserved.


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