Carrie Underwood has offered many the willy-nilly soul “spinning on a thin black sheet of glass” a sense of relief since her 2005 hit, “Jesus Take the Wheel.” There is an immediate comfort to the notion that when we’re “running low on faith and gasoline,” God might step in as if he were a sub, tagging us out of the game of life; as if to say, “Thanks for keeping us on the right track, soldier! You rest a while. I’ve got it from here.”

Upon closer observation, this is a pretty flimsy picture of a God who “created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people and life to those who walk on it” (Isaiah 42:5). Up against the scriptural portrait of God—mighty, magnificent, all-consuming, all-loving, all-forgiving, omnipotent, savior—“Jesus Take the Wheel” starts to expose a God-as-third-base-coach theology. We look to God for tips and direction but, other than that, we smack our Big League Chew like beefheads and totally got this, yo.

“Jesus Take the Wheel” seems to suggest that, at some prior point, we actually had everything together—grand slams and the like. But as a human, as a runner, I don’t just need a third-base coach. I need muscle to move my legs, wind to push me forward, air to fill my lungs, agility to keep me from tripping (a deluge of love and comfort when I inevitably do), and stamina and sustenance to bring me safely into home.

You may have noticed, but the sky is literally falling this September. Hurricanes have battered us, fires have engulfed us, and tensions are rising between the United States and a nuclear-missile-armed “Rocket Man.”

To say the least, September 2017 has reminded us that we are not invulnerable.

On a personal level, this month has been a real whale as well. My health struggles (which have been over-documented on Mockingbird) have reached a diagnosis; my family at large has born hit after hit, ranging from infertility to utter tragedy. And the real skid to this mark is that my so-called “husband” skipped town for work for a whole week, leaving me alone to keep our kids and myself alive. I seem to be weathering it all, but not without resembling that legless zombie worming on the ground from the very first episode of The Walking Dead.

Needless to say, the devastation of these storms—both personal and corporate—has been catastrophic. In a month like this—now historic for its wreckage—“Jesus Take the Wheel” seems like a near comical sentiment. A more accurate plea might be, “I’M SORRY I’VE BEEN YANKING AT THE WHEEL FROM THE PASSENGER SEAT THIS WHOLE WHILE; CUFF MY ASS AND DRIVE, DAMMIT.”

Brené Brown posted a photo on Instagram after remaining in Houston during Hurricane Harvey. Part of the caption read, “Thank you for not judging. We were advised to stay here—we weren’t reckless. Judgement and scolding about not evacuating are the opposite of empathy and helpful[ness]. It’s painful…It’s also how people make themselves feel better when terrible shit happens: ‘I would have done something different. That will never be me.’”

These words strike me as beyond poignant, and are likely the very reason why “Jesus Take the Wheel” gets so much traction. We stay warm at night, gripping with sweaty palms to the notion that we have everything under control…we really do. If we arrange everything just so, if we keep our eyes on the road, our lives could not possibly come crumbling to slag with one unfortunate doctor’s appointment or a mal-predicted weather forecast. We watch the news and say to ourselves, “I would never lock my child in a hot car or play a role in knocking out her two front teeth” (oh wait, I’ve done both of those things)—and if I do hit a little rough patch, I can just call on God who’s been dozing in shotgun.

It shames me to admit that when life starts to seem the tiniest bit tepid, I tend to tag God out (as if my newfound peace weren’t also a direct consequence and imputation of his peace). We are so bent on ignoring our fallibility, until we are made to remember just how inconveniently breakable we really are. But there is hope in the breaking.

It has occurred to me that much of my work on Mockingbird could be described as the penned iteration of an ugly cry; because of this, it has also occurred to me that the condition by which I am most acutely aware of God’s strength and nearness is not when I’m coasting, but when I’m utterly spinning out.

Maybe I play some role in creating or magnifying these dramas both large and small, or perhaps God has a way of tossing me into the passenger seat of a hydroplaning car, just so I can watch him bring it to a magnificent, improbable stop.

On a world-wide level, maybe he’s showing all of us (as he has so many times before: see “resurrection”) that very thing. “A long hard year” like this reminds me that I need more than a divine temp to step in every now and again. I need a firefighter/bodyguard, who has loved me with an everlasting love, to drag me from this 75th floor of a burning building—life, myself—every single moment of every single day. I need a God who would give me a Vulcan nerve pinch before letting me get anywhere near the actual wheel. There is a wild and mysterious beauty in this sort of need and the culminating rescue. Just look at the stories and music and art we have consumed since the dawn of time.

Instead of “Jesus Take the Wheel,” I’m learning to live on my fragile knees and (during good and bad times) pray the Old Testament “Hosanna”—save me, please!—followed by the sublime promise of the New Testament “Hosanna”—our Savior has come.