Creeping Up


Heavy Traffic at a Traffic Light

Psalm 103:8 The Lord is kind and merciful. He is patient and full of love.

I don’t know if you do this when you’re at a long light, say on Sudley Road (you can have your pick there of long lights) or if you’ve noticed other drivers doing the same thing. Say you’re stopped for a light. Say it’s a long light, long enough that you think the season may change before the light does. You’ve filed your nails, read all the bumper stickers you can see and said prayers for almost everyone you know, and then it happens.

The light hasn’t changed. And then you creep up, not far enough that you run into the car ahead of you. The question is why? The timer that controls the light doesn’t care what you do. You’re not intimidating it to change sooner with your car. It will take its own sweet time until it changes and, short of your car growing wings and flying above traffic or going off-road (which I don’t recommend), you have to wait. And wait. And wait.

I’ve been trying to understand why some drivers do this, and one possibility has to do with the anxiety we feel on the roads in this stressful, time-driven area. Creeping up at lights might be a way to relieve some of the anxiety we feel at traffic lights. We’re moving—it’s not far and it’s not for long, but darn it, we’re going somewhere. And a few seconds later, when the light changes, we are really going somewhere, even if it’s only to the next red light, and we feel better. It’s only for a short while, certainly, but we need all the feeling better we can get.

I think that the spiritual connection is this: not to demean God, but God is like that timer on the traffic light. God is going to accomplish God’s purposes on God’s timetable. There’s no way we can hurry God or make those purposes happen any sooner. We must wait until they do happen, and when they do, the joy and contentment we feel is well worth waiting for. Think of the Children of Israel waiting for the Messiah. They moaned and cried out for a Savior for millennia, but that didn’t change the time of that Messiah’s coming. Jesus came when the time was right, and for those of us who have accepted him as Lord and Savior, our joy is free and unbounded. Praise God for being patient, for doing what is necessary when the time is right, and for sending the gift of Jesus Christ, who is indeed our Lord and Savior. Amen.


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