Have you ever noticed how much time you spend stopped at traffic lights?
The other day I was en route to an appointment that should have taken twelve minutes. I had allowed eleven so I was already behind when I started. But then—screech, thud, boom—I drove up to a red light. I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel. Counted the cars passing in front of me which were going a different direction. Read the cardboard sign held by the transient on the corner. Checked my watch. I was now behind another two minutes.
To the average person that may not sound like much time, but think how many traffic lights you find yourself waiting for during the course of a day, a week, a month. We are talking hours of time that is wasted, lost, discarded. And in the eternal scheme of things, it’s tragic.
God’s word says He numbers our days, counts the hair on our heads (for some of us that is painful) and knows when our time is up here on earth. The older I get the more time becomes precious to me, since I know the hourglass of my life is trickling away. So sitting at a traffic light needs to be productive, these minutes are precious.
I began using the time in a practical manner. I put an extra large emery board in the coin box on the front dash. I often don’t find time to smooth out my nails after a day of cleaning, or working in the garden, so having an emery board in the car is a welcome addition. I’m amazed how many fingernails you can file while waiting for a green light. Since I added the emery board I rarely have a ragged nail.
The next thing I did was post a 3 x 5 card on the visor above me. On it I wrote a Bible memory verse that I was trying to conquer that week. You can read a fairly long passage at least twice during a traffic light. Hiding God’s Word in your heart takes time and repetition, so for me keeping my current verse on the visor allows me to review every time I drive.
Finally I posted a prayer list. In Thessalonians Paul tells us to pray without ceasing and in Philippians admonishes us to give thanks in everything. With a readymade reminder above me I can keep my friends before the throne of grace every time my foot rests on the brake pedal. Prayer changes things (John 15:7). God tells us to ask what we will and it shall be done. I don’t know about you but I find those to be mighty powerful promises.
The next time you are stopped at a red light, or caught in construction, or pulled over for an ambulance to pass, try turning your frustration toward heaven. You will be amazed, as I have been, how verbalizing a prayer or repeating a promise from God soothes your soul, frees your mind and warms your heart. If we all put this to practice, imagine how we could change the world.
If I remember correctly Jesus tells us in the last chapter of Matthew that we are to be His witnesses to the world. “Go ye”, Jesus says, “into all the world and preach the Gospel.” By praying His scripture over a fast-paced population we are fulfilling part of that great commission.