The Benefits of Traffic (And Other Inconveniences)

They say country living is life lived slowly. They say country folk are backward folk. I say it’s all hogwash. I say “they” are backward. In San Antonio, at four o’clock sharp, a stream of impatient cars stops. The blacktop glitters with red brake lights and red-faced drivers. I rest my head against the window. I consider that city driving is slower than country driving. In the country, an eight-minute drive takes eight minutes. Yesterday, an eight-minute drive morphed into fifty-three minutes. City life can bog me down.

The small accident that caused a fifty-three minute congestion was on the shoulder when I drove past. On the shoulder, off the road. Still, the stream of drivers paraded on like turtles curious at the glint of contorted metal and flash of lights.

Oh, the gawkers. The folks that go from eighty to fifteen miles per hour for the blue lights on the other side of the interstate. One rear ending can slow all four lanes of traffic. Speeders swerve into barriers to avoid sudden collision with bumpers. Spaced-out techies rear-end the stopped cars. More chaos, more time spent on San Antonio’s wagon wheel interstate system.

Oh, that dang interstate bogs me down.

Stress tightens my shoulders and I sigh. But I can’t blame the interstate for my stressed-out state. I can’t blame San Antonio for the perpetual hurry-up and wait, wait, wait. I’m prone to stress no matter the place, no matter the time. Life’s full of hurry-up and wait moments. We rush from point A to point B and then traffic kills our perfectly timed schedule. The DMV sucks away your entire day. A trip to the vet adds complexity to an already booked workday. A death disconnects us from the stream of busyness and forces us to examine our priorities.

I believe God uses these loathed experiences to address our fellowship with Him.

I don’t know how your last week was, but mine was terrible. One thing after another stopped me in my tracks. It brought to the surface the reality of my fellowship with God. Even now, I feel like a skiff out at sea, tossed about, fearful of what storm may hit next. My anchor is Jesus Christ. The line won’t break. But the rock of rough waves, and the sound of their breaking, rattles me. I expend my energy fighting and fearing rough seas instead of drawing peace and light from my Anchor.

It’s one thing to be anchored. It’s another to draw from the Anchor who keeps me secure. Drawing upon Him is as necessary as bread for the body.

I hate traffic. I hate the concrete and smog of city life. I cringe at unexpected complications and inconveniences. No one loves tragedy. But if I’m careful, and if I’m wise, I’ll draw from my Anchor and thank Him for the slow-down I cannot prevent. It’s the slow-downs in life that bring us closer to the One who matters most.

Prayer: Lord, may we not forget that it’s all about You, and that in every situation we are blessed with the opportunity to glorify and love You. Thank you for the slow-downs.

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