Ministry Resources

Waiting for Oncoming Traffic

Author: Nancy A. Stevens

You can feel the sweat dripping down your shirt in spite of the air conditioning.

Record temperatures and extra heavy traffic add to your frustration. A 20-minute shopping trip took over an hour, and now you’re late for your dental appointment.

You position the car to make a left turn, anticipating a stop of a few seconds, but as you wait for an opening the stream of cars seems endless.

“The dentist’s office is only one block away! I can’t believe I’m stuck here!”

As the minutes speed by, you consider your options.

Option 1: “I’ll just leave my car here in the turning lane and walk. Maybe by the time I’m finished at the dentist there will be a break in the traffic!”

Option 2: “Anything’s better than waiting. I’ll drive into the traffic. I’m sure the cars will stop for me.”

Option 3: “I can’t sit here any longer. This traffic is never going to end. I’ll floor the accelerator and hope I’m going faster than that oncoming car.”

Option 4: “The traffic has to stop eventually. While I’m waiting, I’ll quickly call the dentist’s office on my cell phone to let them know that I’ll be a little late for my appointment.”

You’re probably saying, “It’s obvious that the fourth option is the right answer.”

But consider the four options in a different context. You go about your life doing your best to obey God. Suddenly your circumstances become more challenging. Obstacle after obstacle and stress upon stress greet you each day. God lets you know that He wants you to turn a corner. Perhaps He wants you to move, change jobs, become involved in another ministry or church, seek out new friends or change your activities. You turn the direction God wants you to go, and you’re ready for the next thing, but nothing opens up for you.

Consider your options:

Option 1: “I’ll just forget about what God wants me to do for a while. It’s not worth the effort right now. I’ll try again sometime in the future when it will be easier.”

Option 2: “Anything’s better than waiting. I’ll get involved in what everybody else is doing.”

Option 3: “I can’t sit here any longer. I’ll move ahead with my plan and hope it doesn’t interfere with His.”

Option 4: “I’ll wait actively, checking with the Lord about any opportunities I see. Perhaps He’s giving me time to catch my breath before I launch into something new.”

If you’re constantly multitasking and rushing to fulfill your responsibilities, when you’re suddenly forced to stop, you may feel like you’ve hit a brick wall. Waiting for further direction seems far more frustrating and taxing than being busy. You may even wonder, Will I find it more difficult to manage a busy lifestyle again if I wait on the sidelines now? Will I be able to move quickly enough when the Lord tells me it’s time to go forward?

God has a purpose for every delay.

After Samuel anointed David to be king, David spent many years tending sheep, fleeing from Saul, hiding in caves and living in the desert. But those less than royal activities helped to prepare David to serve as a godly king of Israel. In Psalm 31, he prayed, “I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands” (vv. 14-15, NIV).

Time spent actively waiting can prepare you for what God has planned and will yield many blessings later.

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