“Take your hands off the wheel; let God have control.” Christians mean
by this: give it all to God; give Him dominion.
Mankind’s sin, however, is the craving for control. Exacerbating this
rebellious nature is our relativistic culture, encouraging the idea that—
in the absence of transcendent authority—we are the ones in charge.
The message is relentless: “We must have our own hands fully on the
steering wheels of our lives.” As a result, our culture struggles mightily
with surrendering to God.
As a newly married college graduate, I had absorbed the cultural
mantra—I believed my hands controlled the wheel. Then one day,
during my work commute, the Lord taught me a lesson.
At the height of rush hour traffic in the Washington metropolitan area,
a car veered into my lane. I swerved abruptly. My car began to spin,
rotating its way across the median. I had no control as I careened into
oncoming traffic on the other side of the highway. Inevitably, my
vehicle would plow into the mass of commuters. The likelihood of
escaping the situation alive—let alone unharmed or leaving others
Helpless, I raised my hands from the wheel and prayed. I prayed for God to take control, and if it was His
will, to deliver me and those around me.
Two things followed. One was a feeling of utter stillness and peacefulness. The other was a sense of
wonder, because my spin across the median allowed me to see the cars in oncoming traffic suddenly
slowing down. In precisely the moment when all the lanes of oncoming traffic stopped, leaving an
incongruous open space on the blacktop, my car spun into that space and came to rest on all four
wheels facing the paused vehicles.
I sat, stunned. Then I thanked God for His mercy and grace, drove across the median, merged with
traffic, and made my way home—with not a single injury or damaged vehicle.
The Lord had instructed me: when life is spinning out of control, I recall that peacefulness; I remember
to take my hands off the wheel.
It is part of my calling as a Christian parent and teacher to model surrender, helping my children to
follow the Lord’s instruction to “Be still, and know that I [am] God” (Psalm 46:10, KJV).
Life is out of our control and in God’s hands, even when we don’t acknowledge it. Sometimes, this truth
becomes uncomfortably obvious—something goes awry, and everything churns. The homeschooling
life can swirl extra wildly; during the last two decades of homeschooling, I can’t count the number of
times I’ve felt I didn’t know how to pull everything together the way I thought it ought to be. I’ve had to
remind myself: take your hands off the wheel, model stillness and surrender.
Classical, Christian Education
One of the ways I surrender is through classical, Christian education. I submit to the paradigm
that has withstood the test of many centuries: the principles of classical, Christian education (i.e.,
learning the skills of memorization, reading and writing well, logical thinking, discussion and articulate
communication) and its content (i.e., inflected languages, logic, debate, history, sciences, the arts, the
classics, and reading original texts).
As I submit, my children often ask questions I can’t answer in ways they are ready to comprehend. In
answer, I must say: “Trust me! You’ll ultimately see the point. Your comprehension will open, revealing
a landscape of knowledge and understanding in which you’ll flourish as a free human being, exercising
wisdom.” When my children complain that they don’t understand how they’ll benefit from what they’re
learning, or they balk at the difficult tasks it takes hard work to accomplish, I say: “Take your hands off
the wheel! When we reach our destination, you’ll find something like a miracle has occurred: you’ll
understand what seemed incomprehensible; you’ll be able to do what seemed impossible.”
Cultivating Clear Vision through Trust
“[W]e see through a glass, darkly” (1 Cr 13:12, KJV); our vision is cloudy and dim. We have to trust in
the Lord with faith like a child (Mark 10:15). I must help my children realize that they see “darkly” with
regard to their education; they must not lean on their own understanding (Pro 3:5). They must, with
faith, diligently finish the race (Hbr 12:1) laid out for them in their studies in order to attain clarity. I tell
them: “I let God steer by surrendering to the tried-and-true, trustworthy principles of classical, Christian
education; you let me steer when you trust me and complete the work I assign you; when you are
grown, you’ll have learned clearer discernment, and you’ll know how to take your hands off the wheel.”
From Trustworthy Principles, Practical Blessings Flow
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Pro 22:6, KJV):
Education must include training in surrender to God—to transcendent Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. One
of the ways we instill this in our homeschool is by submitting to classical, Christian education. In doing
so, we promise our children that they will harvest abundant fruit in the spiritual realm, but also in every
aspect of their lives from family to careers—because from trustworthy principles, practical blessings
always flow (Deu 28:1-13).
Kate Deddens works with Classical Conversations in Training and Development and as editor of, and
contributor to, the Classical Conversations Writer’s Circle. She is co-author of the Classical Acts and
Facts History Cards series and an editor for the book Classical, Christian Education Made Approachable.
Classically educated at the St. John’s College Great Books Program, Kate has been using the classical,
Christian model of education for two decades as she and her husband Ted home educate their four
children through high school. Kate has directed and tutored several Classical Conversations programs,
including Foundations, Challenge B, and Challenge I, II, and III.