Life’s Traffic Jams
Have you ever been in a traffic jam? You know the ones – drive a little, stop. Drive a little, stop. You see the clock on your dashboard moving faster than you are. A space opens in front of you, and the driver behind you threatens to nudge your bumper or give you a honk. Drive a little, stop. You start to wonder if you’d be better off parking your car, climbing the neighborhood fence, and walking through the schoolyard. Then again, you’d have to walk back and retrieve what’s left of your car later. So, you p-a-t-i-e-n-t-l-y drive a little, then stop. There’s absolutely nothing you can do that feels productive when you’re in such a jam.
Does life feel like that from time to time? Oh yes! If it doesn’t, just you wait…your jam’s coming. Do you want to know the kicker? God arranges some of those on purpose. Why would he do such a thing to people he loves? Well, there are a few reasons…
To develop empathy. We are called to help carry one another’s burdens, but it’s hard to help carry something you’ve never handled. You know what it’s like to have someone come alongside who’s been through an illness or situation like yours. If they’d not gone through their own jam, they wouldn’t be able to offer the encouragement, support, and guidance to assure you that “this too shall pass.”
To develop patience. God is transforming our characters to be more like Christ. Imagine eternity with your neighbors if he didn’t develop patience and Christ-like character in us now. It would be lovely if he just peeled back our hair and poured in the grace – but instant fixes don’t stick. Slow methodical changes are more effective. So we get opportunities to practice patience and grace. Eventually, patience and grace become our first reactions.
To develop trust. One of God’s highest priorities is that we trust him in every situation, in every instruction. He’s coordinating much bigger things than highway traffic, and he’s doing it life by life, decision by decision. Often, he’s steering us around bigger problems that the enemy arranges to draw us away from God. The more opportunities we have to trust him, the more we see he is trustworthy, and the easier it is to trust him in bigger situations.
To develop testimony. We are God’s advertisements, the billboards on which he shows his love, patience, grace, trustworthiness, and amazing coordination of seemingly random circumstances. It is because of the situations we come through victoriously that people around us begin asking what resource we have that they don’t. This is when we can share, with evidence, that we can do all things through Christ, that he is our shield and defender, our help in weakness, our comfort in trouble.
The next time you find yourself in one of life’s traffic jams, thank God for what he’s developing in you, protecting you from, or for the people he’s using your testimony to redeem.