When we're in a hurry, doesn't it seem that every traffic light turns red just as we approach? We wait impatiently for it to change, fingers tapping. Sometimes, we quickly decide to take a short cut, an alternate route that we think will be faster, but which turns out to be even slower. Perhaps we're tempted to exceed the speed limit. Being stopped by police will definitely slow us down! Perhaps road rage is so prevalent today because we're so impatient and today's world is instant and high-speed.
The shortest route is not always the fastest. Recently, I learned that UPS delivery trucks avoid left turns. By programming their routes in this way, the company saves millions of dollars every year in time and gas, and drivers have fewer accidents than when facing oncoming traffic.
We often make the mistake of trying to reach our destination — or obtain what we want in this life — within our own time frame, rather than waiting on God. We see others getting ahead, and we think, Why not me? There must be an easier way. We often step outside God's will to accomplish our own.
Matthew 7:13b – The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide enough for all the multitudes who choose its easy way. (TLB)
The easy way could be to make a fast, foolish decision or to quickly perform shoddy work. The easy way could be to manipulate, compromise, cheat, or speak too hastily. God's will is like traffic lights: stop, go, and wait. The Bible has plenty to tell us about patience — one of the fruits of the Spirit.
James advises us to be patient like a farmer waiting for rain, noting that when the way is rough, our patience has a chance to grow. Hebrews tells us to run with patience the particular race that God has set before us, and to follow the example of those who received all that God promised them because of their strong faith and patience. Paul's prayer for us is that the Lord would bring us into an ever deeper understanding of the love of God and of the patience that comes from Christ.
Next time you're running late, you might try choosing a route with fewer left turns! When you find yourself impatient in your circumstances — or fuming at a red light — take a deep breath and remind yourself that God is in control. He has a reason for everything. He might be protecting you from an accident about to happen. You could miss a blessing that's waiting outside your window. Or perhaps, He is simply teaching you patience!
Prayer: Father, we confess that we are often impatient and look for the easy way. Help us to be patient, to take the right road, and to wait for Your perfect timing. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Lead Kindly Light" (Lyrics)