Stop Signs

I am tickled many a days while driving in my neighborhood. There is a four way stop sign by which folk either comply or not. It never fails each week that I arrive at the stop sign before someone else. I watch as one of my neighbors arrive at the stop sign, and pretend as if they do not see me there. They do a brief pause and then take off as if they arrived first. They neglect the rule of order because for whatever reason, waiting is not an option. I won’t act as if I’m always tickled. Occasionally, I’m a bit upset. The stop sign is near a long two lane road that takes about four-five minutes to travel. Truth be told when I am not tickled, it’s because I’m already running late and taking the chance to get behind someone else who I believe was not justified of being in front of me, will make me even more late. Uh oh! See the pattern? See how quickly the Holy Spirit convicted me? But, I’m getting ahead of myself…

Earlier in the week, I was running late. I had a meeting, but for whatever reason, time got away from me at home, and I determined I would make it to my office just in time for my meeting, barring no one slowing me down. So I get out of the driveway, the turning circle, through an adjacent neighborhood without incident. I arrive to the infamous four way stop. I look to my left and see the other car arrive after me. The person barely stopped. The person went through the intersection. I ended up turning behind them and followed for what seemed like the longest eight minutes of my life. When I finally had opportunity to get around the person, I did. I arrived at the office and logged into the meeting. The person I was scheduled to meet with was late. Here I was rushing to arrive and what I was rushing to wasn’t even ready. The person arrived about six minutes later. The meeting was good. The concept of arriving late did not impact the business that we conducted. In the final analysis as I’m told my dad would say, all was well.

What causes us to be upset and disappointed by others moving ahead of us? God knows what we stand in need of. After all, He knows us better than we know ourselves. Furthermore, if only we could pause and realize that it’s not automatic that God doesn’t want us to have something. It could be as likened to the meeting, it might not yet be ready for us. I recall years ago hearing the lyrics, “What God has for me, it is for me.” True that, but what perhaps makes this challenging is that there is no time table associated with this sentiment. All the praying, fasting, believing, worshipping, praising and listening, will not necessarily result in God making someone else remain at the stop sign longer, or enable us to be the one who gets out first in front of the blessing. If I’m honest, I must admit that although waiting has been frustrating a time or two, what I desired was always exponentially better when I had no other choice but to wait on God. Lamentations 3:25-26 provides strong evidence by stating, “The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.” This scriptural reference instructs us to seek Him, hope and quietly wait. He had me until he added “quietly.” So that means, seeking and hoping without fussing and complaining. Now, that may be a bit more challenging. But is it really, if we stand firm in the belief that God will answer our supplication, but in His own timing?

Stop signs exist to prevent crashes, where there is a question of who has the right of way. The same is true with God. The pauses and stops He facilitates in our life actually preserve it. Without proper staging, the result could be disastrous. If we instead consider the stops to be preventative measures for our sustainability, we can alleviate our frustration and trust that no matter how many appear to get out in front of us, what God has purposed for us will be waiting for us when we arrive. No need to blow our horn, ride the person once we get behind them, scream profanity or show the middle finger. Relish in the gift of stop signs. They are octagonal blessings in disguise.

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