I hate sitting in stalled rush-hour traffic on an interstate. Whether it’s construction or, even worse, an accident where someone is hurt, it can try anyone’s patience to creep along at 5 miles per hour when you had planned to go 65.
Well, at least 45 mph because the road is packed and it is “rush” hour.
When I end up trapped between exits, kicking myself for not anticipating and taking that last off ramp, that makes it even worse.
But do I ever ask myself if there might be a good reason for me to be trapped, forced to wait when I don’t want to?
Patience is a virtue I’m cultivating, just like I tried to teach my kids. Cultivating in a garden includes a number of activities. The synonyms listed from a search at Bing include till, plow, dig, hoe, fertilize, mulch, and weed.
These all have one thing in common: they’re a work in progress. The one thing “cultivate” doesn’t mean is harvest a fully ripened crop.
It takes time for a crop to ripen. If I pick it much too soon, it might not even be edible. If it’s a little too soon, I can eat it, but it won’t have the perfect texture or the full flavor that rolls around on my tongue and brings a smile of delight to everyone I serve it to.
My “patience” isn’t fully ripened. When I really want something, I’d prefer to have it now. If there’s something I can do to speed it up, my nature is to try to find that faster path to the goal. I’m inclined to get off three ramps early and drive the side streets to avoid the crawl. It might take longer than the interstate when it’s flowing, but it might be faster on a traffic-jam day.
So how do we decide whether to take the alternate route or stay the original course with patience?
Driving home during the rush, it probably doesn’t matter. My time of arrival may change a bit, but the final destination is the same.
But there are many things in life where the “faster” route can lead us to a different final location. It might involve choices that don’t honor God.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
(Both Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25, (NKJV))
I find it interesting that the identical proverb is found in two different chapters. It isn’t just an artifact of the translation, either. They’re identical in the original Hebrew, too.
So before I take that exit ramp that might get me somewhere faster, I’d better consider whether it will still get me to the destination God wants for me.
Have you ever been tempted to take the “faster” route only to find unforeseen hazards along the way?