The other day while on my way to work, suddenly the flow of traffic on the freeway slowed to an agonizing crawl. My phone informed me there would be a 90-minute delay because of an issue further up the road. I was stuck with no way off the freeway. Forced into “observation mode,” I began to notice things that are normally a blur as I speed down this same stretch of freeway day after day.
I noticed the pavement. Traveling at highway speed, it appears smooth and uniform. In reality, it is rough, full of gouges and deep scars and imperfections. It was obvious that the road could use some care and maintenance. My life is like that. When I am traveling at full speed, I don’t pay as much attention to the things in need of care and maintenance as I should. I might notice some of them, but I tell myself I will get to it later. I don’t have time for that right now. Days pass. Weeks pass. Years pass, and I have done little to nothing about those things. If I am not careful, my life is going to collapse out from under me like one of those giant sink holes that swallow whole cars. I need to slow down and make time for the care and maintenance of my spiritual life. I can’t afford not to make time for that.
I noticed the people sitting in the cars around me on the freeway. There was the woman head banging and seat dancing to the music playing in her car. There was the man in a heated argument with someone on the other end of his phone. There was the mom looking for something to entertain her little one in the back seat. There was the businessman trying to read the newspaper while also trying to keep an eye on the car in front of him. There was the guy in an angry rage over the traffic, banging on his steering wheel. There was the young woman sneakingly texting. Most days I don’t “see” any of these people. I need to slow down and see the people around me. How many opportunities to help, to bless, to encourage others do I speed by? Jesus accomplished more good in his lifetime than anyone else ever did, and he was never in a hurry.
I noticed the flowering bushes, the trees, and the vines climbing the sound wall along the freeway. There is a lot of beauty to be appreciated when I take the time to do it. The same can be said about most of life. The glory of God is all around me. Lord, help me see it.
When I finally got to work, I made a startling discovery. Everything was fine.
Being stuck in traffic was the best thing that happened to me that day. I need to remember this the next time I see brake lights ahead of me.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23:1-2, ESV)