I have a great deal of difficulty paying attention to what God might be trying to tell me or to show me. I tend to forget who is supposed to be in charge of my life. I think that I am the one who makes all of the decisions and I do not leave any place where God can get my attention. I also become irritated when traffic and other things interfere with my time frame of getting things done.
The first time that I began to learn this lesson was on an Ash Wednesday. I serve two congregations. I had a morning chapel service for the children in the day care at one church and a late morning Ash Wednesday service at the other church. I had 15 minutes to make the 5 minute drive between churches.
Just before I left the first church, I received a call that Robert, a member, was dieing. I called the second church to let them know that I would be a little late and drove as quickly as I could to the hospital.
I was in an extreme hurry. But, I seemed to hit every light just as it was turning red. Each light seemed to take forever to turn green. I was getting very upset and became angry with the lights. By the fourth light, it suddenly occured to me that I was not being a very good pastor. What was I going to be like for Robert's family when I finally arrived at the hospital? They did not need an angry pastor who was upset about traffic lights.
I still kept getting stopped by every red light but I decided to use my time in a better way. I began to use each red light as a time to pray for Robert and his family. I did not hit a single green light on my way to the hospital. I was given ample time to pray.
As I walked through the parking lot it occured to me that God was trying to teach me something about the passage of time and how there is always time for prayer. When I finally entered Robert's hospital room, his daughter-in-law exclaimed, "Pastor Michael! How did you get here so fast?" (I realized that God wanted to make certain that I got the message.)
I now look at red traffic lights and congested roads as a way that God may use to give me opportunities for prayer. I think about people I will interact with and pray for them. I also use this time to remind myself that I do not work alone, God is with me.
I have no doubt that my blood pressure is quite a bit lower now whenever I am stuck in traffic and I spend time in prayer. It is not an interruption or delay---it is an opportunity for me to spend time in prayer.
What is God trying to tell you?
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