Recently I was driving to my hometown at night from Brantford, Ontario with my father in the passenger seat of his car. I’m very familiar with the route because I’d taken it many times over the years, and I had come along to drive back with him because his eye sight is insufficient for night time driving. The trip is usually 2 1/2 hours one way, and we had gone back and forth in the same day to pick up a chair his mother was giving him.
It started to rain as soon as we left around dinner time, and most of the way home it was rather foggy out. It made little difference as there were enough cars on the highway to see their rear lights through the fog. But by the time we get midway home, we normally take a toll highway with significantly less traffic, and at the end of this highway we typically reach some back roads and take them for some stretch of time. Even though I’ve driven this route many times, it dawned on me that this was one of the few times I’d driven in the night time. And the only time I’ve taken this route in the foggy conditions which I was that night.
The back road we were taking had a lot of winding roads and hills, almost like a roller coaster ride at some points. Even though I’d count myself familiar with it, in this condition I was driving below the speed limit and more cautiously since I couldn’t see very far in front of me. It seemed the safest thing to do. However, at several points during the drive, cars and trucks would tail me, almost riding my bumper, and then speed up driving around me. I guess they were getting impatient with me, but once they pulled in front of me and were in the lead they too would slow down. I assume they realized how bad the visibility was, but when they were following me, it was easy to see where they were going so long as someone else was already pioneering the way for them through the fog.
I thought that this occasion showed me a brilliant principle; that it’s easier to follow than it is to lead. In fact, when the way isn’t made clear before you, it’s harder to tell where you’re going, but when someone else is pioneering the way before you, it’s so much easier to just follow along with fewer things to focus on or pay attention to like the leader has to.
Jesus asked his listeners in Luke 6:39 “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?”
I personally believe after being in a few ‘pioneering’ situations where I was following Godly leaders as they ventured into uncharted territory, that the best thing to do when I was uncertain of where we were going, was to show them my respect and not make things anymore difficult for them than it already was to be going somewhere and having nothing to guide them but their principle and vision. It’s very easy to get impatient and pull ahead of the car in front of us going slower than we desire, but once we pass them we may find there was a reason they were driving so slowly.
It may be true that you can only go as fast as who’s in front of you, but sometimes the ones in front of us are the ones who fall into the pit and can warn us to not follow their steps.