Thursday, October 1, 2015

An Un-Christlike Commute

The other morning, it was rainy, misty and traffic was a nightmare. A commute that normally takes me forty-five minutes took me two hours. I would like to say that I used this time to pray for others, to meditate on the verses I'd read in my Bible that morning, or just praise God to the music I was listening to. I knew that I needed to do any one of these things, but did I?  


Not only did I not do them, but I was adamant about not doing them. Instead, I stewed in my own inner road rage. Gone were any of the fruits of the spirit in this car. Not a trace of gentleness, kindness, peace, patience . . . Nope. Instead, I used colorful language that made me glad my kids weren't in the car with me. 

I had moments where I attempted to stop this and pray, but I just became frustrated again by the fact that traffic was just inching along. About the only prayer I really meant was the one where I asked God, "Can't You do something about this???"  

His answer?

"Praise You In This Storm" by Casting Crowns came on.

I get it, Lord, I get it. Sometimes He really isn't subtle at all.

And with that, I flipped to another station. One that played old school. I might hear some Gap Band or LL Cool J or Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, but I would not hear anything that would remind me of what I was not supposed to be doing.

Or so I thought.

God being God, He had them play Al Green's "I Know That Everything is Gonna' Be Alright." For those of you unfamiliar with this song by the soul singer (best known for the hit "Let's Stay Together") some of the lyrics to this one goes:

Just give your life and love to God and He'll give you a peace of mind
I know that everything is gonna' be alright

Well played, God, well played. 

The song goes on to say that "everything is gonna' be alright 'cause He's comin' back just like He said He would."

Sitting on the turn-off to get onto I-485, I was ready for Him to; not because I was spiritually ready, but just because I didn't want to be sitting in stop-and-go traffic. And the worse part was, this was only one of four times I would have to drive I-485 that day (as it fell on the day I had to take Cava to speech therapy).

It was National Coffee Day, but I knew that by the end of it, I would need it to be National Wine Day.

I knew I would have to repent later, but for now all I wanted was my for my car to be like the one in the 80's video game Spyhunter so that I could shoot and bump other cars off the road. I definitely wasn't extending grace to those drivers who cut in line either.

Yeah, not very spiritual that day. Thankfully, I don't have an Ichthys (or Christian fish symbol) or any religious bumper stickers on my car to call me out as a Christian. I notice that so many people who do are the worst drivers.  Not an accusation, just an observation.

One of the verses I had read that morning had been Psalm 34:14, "Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it."  Why then wasn't I?  

In his book Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God, Francis Chan wrote, "Stress says the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace towards others, or our tight grip of control."

The whole commute reminded me of how un-Christlike I am, how in need of His grace and forgiveness I am, and how, when I, like a petulant child who is not getting his way, do very little to truly deserve either. 

I should have been praying. I knew this. Understood this. And ignored this.

The Danish philisopher Soren Kierkegaard even knew this and wrote, "Impatience is an evil spirit that can only be expelled by prayer . . ."

God was blessing me with time to pray to Him and worship Him, but I chose not to. Instead, I chose to get angry over something that was totally out of my control instead of controlling something that was in my power to do so: my temper. How many times had I gotten on Cava for doing the same thing during traffic jams?  

By the time I finally got to work, I was frazzled, irritable, and downright grouchy. Not to mention I had to pee really bad from all the coffee I had already drank that morning to celebrate National Coffee Day. 

So what is the point of all this rambling?

Well, for one, it shows all those misguided people who believe that I am the most patient of people that I am really not.  It shows that situations like this are a real weak point for me spiritually. It shows me that I wish someone would hurry up an invent viable transporters like on Star Trek so I can just beam places.  (There isn't any beaming traffic, is there?)  It also goes to show me that, when I think I've got it all together, I don't. And that the new mercies I need every morning, I need to then respond in that same mercy and grace to others. 

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