Friday, January 26, 2007

Traffic Jams for the Glory of God

A former pastor of mine was known to utter the phrase, "Confession is good for the soul but bad for the reputation." That phrase has stuck with me through the years, and it is applicable for me as regards this entry. It probably comes as no surprise, but I can be really selfish. In fact, much of what I do centers around me. I eat because I am hungry, I read a certain book because I want to read it, and the list goes on. Granted, the examples just cited are fairly benign.

How should we react when an accident or wreck messes up our schedule? In my case, how could I be so frustrated that a wreck on I-65 caused me to be delayed by 3 hours? The frustration is understandable, but a few thoughts were going through my head during that time:

1. How can I be more concerned about my time than about those involved in the wreck? For a wreck to be so bad that I only moved 2 miles in 3 hours, I should have been more concerned about those involved in the wreck. I was most certainly not loving my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:39).

2. How can I be frustrated at my situation when the sovereign God of the universe ordained that I be stuck in this traffic jam? I cannot accept only good from the Lord's hand. I must not allow myself to get irritated by God's hand of providence. The truth is that if I were to evaluate the root attitude of my heart, I would have unearthed dissatisfaction with the Almighty with the pride and arrogance of a sinful creature who thinks he knows better than God. If I had my way, the wreck would not have happened, but even such simple, seemingly harmless statements reveal a distrust with what God does. I must not presume to think that I know better than God, and I had to come to grips with my selfishness as I was sitting in the car with nothing but my thoughts. Those thoughts were mostly about my precious time. I did not suffer physical or mental anguish. I simply experienced God's providential hand interrupting my schedule, and all I could think about was myself.

3. How can I use this time for God's glory? The apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth to remind them to "do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31, NASB). Could this traffic jam be used to the glory of God for Christ's sake? Yes! In fact, it was this thought that precipitated my prayers for the individuals that were involved in the wreck. It was this thought that spurred me on to prayer for the brother of a close friend of mine. It was this thought that drove me to listen to some Christian songs from a Sovereign Grace CD.

I had never considered it before, but today I learned that a traffic jam can be used for the glory of God and to teach me much about making much of Jesus Christ at every moment and in every situation...for the kingdom and the King, Jesus Christ.

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