Yesterday was the day we were coming home from our most recent sabbatical. Before we left Pigeon Forge, TN. we decided to do a little shopping. We visited several places and headed out. Then “our” plan was to stop by Dad’s home and pick up a couple of items. That was our plan–until we reached Chattanooga. Well, it was before we reached Chattanooga. It all started in Cleveland, TN.
What started? Traffic problems! It came to a complete halt! Debbie was driving at the time and I know she doesn’t like driving in the rain, especially in heavy traffic. So we exited off the Interstate and swapped driving responsibilities. Rather than get back on the non-moving interstate, we turned on our WAZE app, and headed in another direction. I left it up to the app to get us back to where we wanted. And it did! It didn’t take long until the Interstate traffic in Chattanooga to come to a complete halt. At times we were moving about 2 feet an hour (or so it seemed to us), the rest of the time the right foot was on the break pedal.
And what should have been a 30 to 40 minute drive time turned into over two and a half hours of alternating not moving at all to barely moving. It was daylight when we arrived in Chattanooga and it was dark when we left it all behind. Needless to say our side trip to Dad’s was cancelled and we headed for home. Today’s musings are about being still when we should have been moving forward challenging the posted speed limits.
All of this prompted me to remember Psalm 46 Verse 10 this morning. Really it was all over me in that two and a half hour mess. I experienced a calmness in the rain and slow when it was moving traffic. The Holy Spirit was all over me, around me, and best of all–IN me. Interstates are made for moving, not sitting. That’s the same view we have about life. But then something happens–and life comes to a dead stop.
When this happens we have options. We can fret, stew, and become agitated, honking endlessly the horn. And yes, there was a time in my life I would have done such a thing. Or–I said OR–we can live within Psalm 46 Verse 10. When it comes to Psalms, normally I don’t turn to Eugene Peterson’s work “The Message”. But this time, it spoke to me and into me. In the stillness of what should have been a fast moving Interstate, I was calm.
Debbie thought I had lost my mind when I started saying: “OK, all you trucks and cars! I believe in you! I believe you can start moving again! That’s it, just a little. Now push on a little bit faster!” Rather than cursing the long line of cars and trucks in front of me, I was encouraging them. Did it work? Sometimes, but I never stopped encouraging them to go forward. And here’s this morning’s important lesson for us.
When life brings us to a complete halt, Remember God! Far above traffic jams and pressing deadlines, there is God. And while our plans get changed, God’s plans for us never change. In those moments when your life comes to a complete halt–whether it’s an Interstate highway, at work, at home, or when you are all alone–remember Psalm 46 Verse 10—“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” And everything means everything! Knowing God is difference between blowing fuses and being at peace.