Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
Traffic was horrendous this morning. It took me 3 times longer than normal to get to work today. The ‘Denville’ exit was so backed up that I decided to drive the two extra miles and use the ‘Cherry Hill Road’ exit. Bad choice. Twenty-four additional minutes later, I was finally able to get off the highway. In my short stretch down Route 80, I passed three different (non-serious) accidents and there appeared to be a couple more of them just beyond my exit. To say that this commute was an agonizing crawl would be an understatement. It is a frustrating thing indeed to be stuck in traffic. It’s annoying, it takes a long time, and it’s beyond our control. Getting stuck in traffic is something I have never heard anyone say they enjoy.
Sometimes it can feel like there is no end in sight when you are stuck in traffic or caught in construction, but the end always comes, doesn’t it? The same is true in life—of difficulties, hardships, and trials. We spend a lot of our lives stuck ... at least, we feel as if we're stuck. We drive to work and get stuck in traffic. We finally arrive, only to remember that we're stuck in a frustrating job. We bump into someone at the store and get stuck in conversation. Maybe we're stuck with an underperforming mutual fund. Or stuck with a body that just can't stay healthy. Or stuck with extended family members who aren't pleasant to be around. Feeling stuck can be disconcerting, irritating, or depressing. And because we live in a fallen world, we have all had these stucky feelings before. Sure, perspective reminds us that there are always people in a worse situation than we are, but that doesn’t completely take away or negate our own “stuck” moments.
Still, feeling stuck can provide some helpful, Biblical reminders for us as Christians. How? These “feeling stuck” moments can be redeemed when we allow them to bring us back to what, or who, is most important—our God. These inevitable moments of helpless frustration emphasize the reality that we are not in control. Only God is. No matter the situation, miniscule or serious, things are often outside of our grasp of control. Thus, these are times in which we have to look outside of ourselves, and back to the One who rules and reigns over all things. God is God. You are not. Eat the humble pie. Yet, this is actually a wonderful thing, because there is great comfort knowing that God is with us. Do you remember this old hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”? It is filled with encouragement for the stuck moments we all have, “…O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!”
So, the next time you feel stuck, don't give way to panic, doubt, anger, depression or guilt. Repurpose that momentary feeling of “stuck” to rejoice in a good and loving God that just may be reminding you of who He is, who you are, and who's really in charge. Yes indeed, the mighty Creator is at work, on your behalf, “working all things together for the good of YOU who love Him.” (Romans 8:28) God has a plan, and His plan is wise and good, better than anything you could ever dream up. This means, God might even be using the extra time you sit in traffic for your benefit. The next time you feel stuck, rest. Not because you know what's happening, but because you commune with the One who's in control of what's happening to you right now. Rest because He's included you in something wonderful, even though in the moment it feels as if you're stuck.
Pastor Steve Vera