I recently had the experience of driving a towed vehicle down the interstate about 20 miles. We hitched the stalled-out van to King Pen’s pickup truck, with the shortest tow line ever conceived. King Pen gave me a few directions, something like, “don’t ride the brakes,’ and “don’t freak out.” A police officer cleared the lane so we could pull onto the road.
Let me tell you, I got right with Jesus on that road.
It was terrifying. I was so incredibly close to his truck– there was absolutely no margin for error. For the first few seconds, I was awash in panic. I didn’t see how in the world I was not going to rear-end the truck. I knew I couldn’t apply the brakes without risk to both the vehicles, no matter how much my instincts raged. A million possible scenarios played out in my head, should I make a mistake. It was harrowing.
I prayed, seriously. I talked out loud, encouraging myself. I slapped myself on the cheek a few times to avoid hysteria.
It was intense. The only way to really do it, was to follow King Pen exactly. I had to go where he went. I had to keep my eyes on his truck, without looking away for an instant. If he slowed down, I had to slow. If he turned left, I had to turn left. No matter what direction I might want to go (the nearest daiquiri place sounded pretty fine with me), I had to FOLLOW.
I’m not always such a good follower.
So here’s where the metaphor hits me.
I’m hitched to this man. I’ve got the shortest tow rope invented– and I have to learn to follow him perfectly. It’s not that I can’t drive myself. I’m totally capable, (despite my reputation for being a terrible parker). I have my directions all printed out, a tank full of gas, and my seat belt on. But if I try to do anything else right now but follow him perfectly, I’m going to hurt us both. The consequences could be terrible not only for us, but those around us, if I decide to do my own thing. It is vital, in that moment, to be the perfect follower. I have to trust him. But more than that, I have to trust God, who has appointed me to my place, and King Pen to his.
It’s not a perfect metaphor, but it brought a few things close to home for me.
Most moments, marriage feels like moving along side by side. That’s when things are smooth, and you’re just sort of cruising together. That’s great! But there are going to be times when only one person can be in the driver’s seat. Times when the road is too narrow or treacherous for two. These are the moments when your actions must be a perfect mirror, so much so, that you are like one mind, one body. How crucial those moments are! Marriages are made or broken in those times. The path is littered with marriages that faltered and tore apart at that moment- the evidence is scattered all around us. I don’t want to be part of that debris because I refused to relinquish control, because I refused to trust my husband and my God.
Those were just a few of the major epiphanies I had on those long twenty miles. We made it, and I arrived with a new appreciation for our marriage– my role, and his. It’s funny how God does that so literally sometimes. I needed to be reminded to “follow,” and by golly, He reminded me. No room for misinterpretation.
Don’t ride the brakes, my sister. Don’t freak out. Just pray, keep your eyes on your husband, and trust that God is gonna get you both there, safe and sound.