Have you seen comedian Michael McIntyre talk about overtaking farm traffic? He describes the experience of wanting to overtake a tractor and and entering the ‘death lane’ by driving into oncoming traffic. Nobody wants to drive into oncoming traffic. You wait for the straight bit of road and edge out and then edge back in because you realise that death is coming in the opposite direction. The pressure builds as you know you have to overtake as cars start to pile up behind. Other drivers are wanting you to ‘make your move’ so others can follow. Then out of nowhere, a driver right from the back of the queue pulls out and overtakes every car…
McIntyre says ‘You look into the distance to see. Is there a car coming? And you can’t help but think: has one died?’ Sometimes the driver who has boldly overtaken everyone realises they have made a mistake and tries to get back in. ‘We don’t let them’ says McIntyre. ‘You’ve made your decision, accept your fate!’
I could go on and on. I do love this sketch. But what has this got to do with the Highway Code, or should I say the Higher Way Code?
The sign above means ‘no overtaking’. It signals to drivers that it is illegal to overtake at this particular point, often because of hills, bends or dips in the road. It is put in place for the safety of road users. Overtaking is considered a dangerous manoeuvre and should only be attempted when absolutely necessary.
Sometimes impatience can get the better of us and we just want to get to where we need to be. We live our lives at 100 miles an hour don’t we? Chores to be done, children and family to take care of, work to complete, people to visit, stuff to buy, places to to go, something to plan and then it all starts again the next day. In our instant-access, everything now society we are so busy that it becomes unsafe. We experience the unexpected dips in the road, the sudden bends and the difficult hills but our foot remains on the accelerator. We are in the drivers seat. We are in control. Trying to get from A to B. From one day to the next.
When we hit a bump, approach a steep hill or have to put on the brakes suddenly as we are caught off-guard by a sharp bend in our lives, we often ask questions like ‘why?’ It would have been helpful to have some warning before that happened. Something comes completely out of the blue and turns our plans upside down.
Did you know that in the busyness of life we ignore the ‘no overtaking’ signs that God gives us? Timing matters to God. It may seem like we are sitting behind a tractor waiting impatiently to get to where we need to be (or where we think we need to be). Maybe we are waiting for that promotion. If we could overtake everything in order to get that promotion right now, we would miss out on the experience that we need to do that new job to the highest standard. Perhaps we are recovering from an illness or an operation and were given advice on the do’s and do not’s in order to maximize our recovery. If we could overtake the advice of the health professionals and go out and do what we wanted, we could end up worse off than when we started and delay the healing process. In the waiting, we can be refined.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven… Ecclesiastes 3:1
When we take our foot off the accelerator and let God take hold of the steering wheel, we can rest in the safety and assurance that He is with us. I take great comfort from Proverbs knowing that God makes our paths straight.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Does that mean our lives become bump, bend and hill free when we accept Christ as Lord? No! If anything we experience greater challenges because Satan hates Christians. However, we believe in Jesus Christ who overcame the world and defeated Satan forever. Satan’s time is short. For the believer, we can trust that God will make a way and be with us in all the undulations of life.
At times it may be tempting to try and overtake at the expense of waiting on God’s timing. But without God we are taking a leap of faith into the ‘death lane’. We are going through life regardless of the consequences. I can’t imagine God saying ‘You’ve made your decision, accept your fate’ in a smug, laughing way. But the truth is we have a decision to make. Do we trust Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection which has reconciled us to God and given us eternal life? Or do we trust ourselves and the ways of this broken world which has been corrupted by the overtaking and impatience of so many before us – the road that leads to eternal separation from God?
God’s heart breaks when we choose to battle this life without Him. We were never meant to navigate these unpredictable, often troubling roads of life alone. He welcomes all of us to trust in Him. If you take that step of faith which may feel like edging out, then edging back in again, be assured that God will never leave you, nor forsake you. When you place your faith in Jesus Christ you can have confidence knowing that it is He who goes before you.
“The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8