Friday, March 5, 2010

Traffic Lights

So, today I was on my way to the bank and many of the traffic lights along the main road were not working. They weren't blinking yellow or red. They simply weren't doing their job at all. At first it was cool, because everyone on the main road, myself included, was just cruising along. Then I began to feel sorry for those who were stuck trying to get out onto the main road or go across it. It wasn't long before my feelings once again changed to worry. The further down the road I travelled without the direction of the traffic lights, I realized the chaos that was being caused by the absence of the order that they were designed to create. I started to pray for safety for all of those who were travelling along the road without their "guiding lights."

I made it safely to the bank, but as I made my way back home, I decided to take a different route and see if it made a difference. I noticed the first traffic light up ahead hung blank and lightless just as the ones along the other road had. I prayed again and then began to think about what a pain those traffic lights can sometimes be. They always have you stopping, starting and slowing down when you're trying to reach your destination. It can be especially frustrating when you're in a hurry to reach that destination and it seems as though every single light turns red and prevents you from making it wherever you're going in the time you think you need to be there. At times, when we're particulary impatient, we choose to ignore the traffic signals, even when they are working properly. This has proven, for some, to be devastating or even fatal.

I thought about it the rest of the way home. Though I did make sure to pay extra close attention to what everyone around me was doing in case they weren't paying attention. As annoying as they sometimes are, experiencing this time without them, truly made me appreciate traffic lights and the job they do.

God often works in our life like a traffic light, telling us to stop, go or slow down. Most of the time, we're on our way somewhere in life, and we do not want to be slowed down. We don't want to be stopped once, let alone again and again. We especially don't want to be detoured. Even though we don't want these things to happen, they're often necessary. God uses the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us direction. He may also place circumstances in our lives that cause us to be detoured, and our life takes a completely different direction than we had planned. I've been there.

Like someone running through a red light, or a stop sign, I've even gone as far as completely ignoring what I knew God was trying to tell me. All the while, thinking my way of achieving my goals was better than His. Those times in my life proved to be some of the hardest and most difficult. I did not appreciate it or understand it at the time, but the directions He was giving me were for a purpose. I've come to a place in my life where although I still may not understand why God may guide me the way He does, I do appreciate it and know that it's out of His love for me.

It made me think today, "What if God, like those traffic lights, had stopped giving me the signals I needed to make it through life?" My life would be pure chaos. I would not be where I am today. No matter how much I have been frustrated at times in my life when God was giving me yellow and red lights or detour signs instead of the green light I wanted to see, I am thankful that even though I didn't get where I wanted to be when thought I needed to be there, God got me where He wanted me, right on time.

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