The story is told about two people on a long drive. On this particular day, they had to travel several hours to their destination and where they were supposed to stay that evening.
The passenger was very adept at reading the maps. The passenger also knew the name of the place where they were to go, because the passenger had made the arrangements. The driver did not know, because the driver was only focused on getting there as quickly as possible. There was much, much traffic.
From the outset of that day, the attitude was very tense from the passenger toward the driver. It was because the driver sometimes sped up to 105 MPH to pass other vehicles. When that would happen, the passenger would go “Harumph!” If the driver tail-gated too closely, the passenger would lean back in the seat and go “Harumph!” If the driver had to brake hard to avoid another vehicle, the passenger would grab the door handle and go “Harumph!” For much of the traveling that day, it was “Harumph! Harumph! Harumph!” from the passenger directed to the driver.
Finally, the driver had heard enough “Harumphing!” from the passenger. Diving from the fast lane across three lanes in the midst of heavy traffic, the driver stopped on the highway shoulder. The driver told the passenger to get into the back seat, and not utter another sound. The passenger complied, but with accompanying resentful attitude.
Hours later, the destination was reached. But, the driver had no clue which place it was they were supposed to go, nor did the driver see what could be possibly the place where they were supposed to go, although the driver had stopped almost right in front of it. The sign pointing to the destination was almost overhead. The driver searched the local map they had. The driver drove further down the road, and then back, searching and guessing.
In the mean time, the passenger was postured like Brer Fox’s “tar baby,” which “lay low and keep on saying nothing.” Perhaps the passenger snickered slyly, too, thinking without saying it “Harumph!” “Not another sound” had been the driver’s instruction, and “not another sound” was the passenger’s intention.
In so many terms, this portrays the spiritual representation that exists between people and God. We are like the driver speeding excessively through life without considering the possibility of going out into eternity. We tail-gate disasters without considering the wrecks we could cause. We have to brake life sharply sometimes because of personal crises that occur.
God warns us with “Harumph!” But, it is only an irritant to us. Finally, after so many divine “Harumphs!,” we make it clear to Him that He should get in the back seat of our lives, and not utter another sound. And, when He complies, He often keeps quiet the rest of the way. He offers no more guidance. He gives no more direction. He — perhaps — even snickers.
After all, He actually says to those who tell Him to get in the back seat of their lives, “Because you have set at nought all my counsel (“Harumph!), and will have none of my reproof (“Harumph!”), I will laugh at your calamity, and I will mock (“Harumph!”) when your fear comes. When your fear comes as desolation, and your destruction comes as a whirlwind, when your distress and anguish comes upon you, and you try to call upon me—-I will not answer! You may seek me, but you shall not find me, because you hated my knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord. You would have none of my counsel (“Harumph!”), and despised all my reproof” (“Harumph!).
We may make fun of God and about God today, but, if we do, the table will eventually turn to where He may make fun of us and our rejection of Him. In your life, slow down. Quit being so careless concerning spiritual issues and fellowship with God. Jesus Christ gives us peace. Jesus Christ gives us hope. Jesus Christ gives us salvation.
Finally, things got figured out for the driver. Without uttering a sound, the passenger pointed out the page that had the arrival destination.
Later, when the driver entered the room, the passenger was laying curled up on the bed. When the driver looked down, the passenger looked up and smiled so sweetly. The beautiful smile melted the driver’s heart, and the driver burst out laughing. Harmony and fellowship were restored between the passenger and the driver. They got back in the car, and drove down the road a bit to a nice restaurant. They had a good meal, and talked about how the day had transpired. The end.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.