“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” -Proverbs 3:5-6
There is an intersection I approach with caution every day on my way to work. The same intersection that left me with my first traffic violation and a teary-eyed, mascara-smeared face in my late pass photo during high school. I remember the day clearly. I was running late to school…again. Listen, 7:00 am is too early to be ANYWHERE, in my opinion. Even now that I am a young adult I love waking up early but I know 7:00 am is for pajamas, hands curled around a coffee mug, and toes curled up under a cozy knit blanket. There’s a difference between loving being UP early and loving being OUT early.
Anyway, as I approached this intersection, I had a green light and what I considered a fair break in traffic to cross, so I went for it. Apparently the police officer who had been watching from nearby was not in agreement with my idea about what a “fair break in traffic” looked like. I was immediately pulled over and written up for a failure to yield the right of way. He told me that the cars I crossed in front of had to brake so they wouldn’t hit me. I found myself with 3 points on my driver’s license only 6 months after even receiving it.
Now, here I am 8 years later and I have to cross this same intersection every day on my way to work. And the best part?… I have to cross it at 7:00 am again. Every single morning puts me right back in that moment of my first ticket. I plead and pray as I drive towards that intersection that there might be a green arrow waiting for me, making the decision about what a fair break in traffic looks like so I won’t have to. My stomach churns though when I see there’s only a green light and the decision is mine.
That’s where my mind was as I made my way down the road toward the green light just a few months ago. However, when the light turned to yellow and finally red as my car rolled up beneath it, I felt my heart leap. Was I actually excited for a red light? I looked in my rearview mirror at the line of cars behind me and laughed out loud because who gets excited for red lights? All the drivers lined up behind me were probably annoyed at the inconvenience. They probably wished I had found that break in traffic and flew through while the light was still yellow so they might have been able to do the same. So they could have gotten on with their drive and wherever they needed to get to. I’ll admit I used to have the same go-go-go mentality. Yet there I was cracking up and full of joy because I knew that after a red light would come my green arrow. I wouldn’t have to wait for a break in oncoming traffic to cross. The intersection would be soon cleared out, just for me. I would have the right of way.
As I moved on from that intersection, the connection to my own life hit me. I had been living at a red light- in a season of waiting- and this was a picture of heaven’s perspective. Maybe you’ve been sitting at a red light of your own… Waiting for your career to kick off. Waiting to pass this one stupid test you just can’t seem to pass. Waiting for your future husband or wife to finally come around. Waiting to be noticed or forgiven… Just waiting for things to be different somehow. Red lights don’t seem much fun with an earthly perspective. We’re always focused on how quickly we need to get to our destination and what we’re missing while we’re sitting there stuck. We don’t have horns to honk, but, oh honey, we have mouths to run. We complain. We whine. We compare. We might even cry enough to have our own lovely little mascara-smeared faces. With a heavenly perspective though, all of that changes.
Jesus told His disciples that there is an enemy who comes only to kill, steal, and destroy. He had come, however, to give them a life of abundance. A life overflowing with joy and with peace and with all the good things of heaven. You’re a disciple too. One of the Lord’s beloved. He has the same life of abundance in store for you if you’ll receive it in faith. To do so, you have to know that the dreams and desires of your heart are no secret to your Heavenly Father. He made you and placed them within you. He actually wants you to have the things you dream and pray about. But you also have to know sometimes those things take time. Sometimes there has to be a red light along the way. At the red lights, God does the work necessary in our hearts to even be able to receive such a blessing from Him. He develops the fruit of the Spirit in us and keeps us clinging to Him not for what we think we can get, but for who He is. He keeps our hearts humble and surrendered.
But the work being done isn’t only in us, and you can become exhausted if you get to thinking so. Sometimes there’s external factors God has to work out too. Things that are happening all around us, even if they have nothing at all to do with us personally. God is using your red light to let all those cars move so that, when He finally gives you the green light, you have the right of way. You can move forward with total protection and confidence. He doesn’t want you to have to wait, stomach churning, looking for those safe moments to cross into your next season. He wants you to move forward in Him knowing that He has ordained your steps. So, if you’re stuck at a red light, take this opportunity to crank the volume up on your praise music and know He’s in the waiting.