Course Correction

March 7, 2023 | Jaci Miller

The tires of my car grumbled against the rumble strips. Rrrrrrr. I gently turned the wheel and edged back into my proper lane. A brief moment of adrenaline, but thankfully, nothing more. How much worse it could have been had I not changed my direction.

Small course corrections matter. Whether we’re driving a car or traveling down life’s lane, if we take our eyes off the road too long, we wander into danger zones.

Thank goodness the Holy Spirit often nudges us — His version of a rumble strip — before we wander too far off track. If we listen, we can often steer back to the safety of His presence.

I suspect this is what happened to the Israel of the Old Testament. When they began to wander, God sent his prophets to them to make course corrections. Though the people heard the messages, they didn’t internalize them. They didn’t make the small corrections and, ultimately, landed in captivity far from their homeland.

Years later in Nehemiah 9:34-35, the Levites, speaking to God, summed up the situation well. “‘Our kings, our leaders, our priests and our ancestors did not follow your law; they did not pay attention to your commands or the statutes you warned them to keep. Even while they were in their kingdom, enjoying your great goodness to them in the spacious and fertile land you gave them, they did not serve you or turn from their evil ways.’”

God had warned them. They did not pay attention. They did not turn from their ways.

King David provides another example of ignoring the warning rumbles. His encounter with Bathsheba began with a look. Instead of turning away, David progressed to full-on sin (2 Samuel 11). Eve’s encounter with the serpent, in the garden of Eden, began with a listen. Instead of leaving the snake behind in the dust, she gave it her attention (Genesis 3). 

In hindsight, we easily judge Israel. The evidence was right there! Why didn’t they listen? David and Eve, why didn’t you turn away?

Yet, this sounds like me sometimes. Stubborn and convinced I’m right. I gloss over the warning rumbles and plunge ahead. Right off a bridge. Or just as bad, I take my eyes off life’s road and allow a passive stance to dominate, not course correcting as I ought.

Sigh. I can be slow to learn.

Thankfully, God has provided His Word as one of those warning rumbles. We have the example of Israel and others to help us navigate life and prevent a dangerous veer.

Whether the result is a car accident, or the destruction of a nation, ignoring rumble strips can be disastrous. They serve a purpose: to protect us from veering off course.

Our job? Pay attention and turn the wheel.