Traffic lights


I’m thankful for traffic lights…especially when they are green. I’m guessing you feel the same way. We’re all busy, always going here and there, full of plans and activities and ambitions. We like the green lights that say to us, “Go on your way without any interruption. Please, proceed as planned. There’s nothing to stop you. Have a great day.”  They ought to put smiley faces on green lights.


But of course, it’s not all green lights in our life, is it? There are plenty of red lights that stop us in our tracks. They make us…WAIT! And which of us likes waiting? It often seems pointless, a waste of time. It frustrates our plans to sit at a red light when we want to move forward in the pursuit of our desires.


Then there are the yellow lights that confuse us. Are we supposed to hurry up and get through before the light turns red? Or are we supposed to slow down and be mindful of the circumstances that are unfolding around us?


Just as traffic signals govern the course of our driving, there are life signals that God designs to govern the course of our lives and even this very day before you. There are green lights that allow us to proceed as planned, full speed ahead. Of course some life roads seem to have lots of green lights. We might find we can make good time on those paths only to find they don’t really take us where we really want to go. Maybe you’ve been there, walking through every open door before you, only to discover later it led you to a place filled with emptiness and despair. The paths God chooses us to follow have green lights too, but not always. Sometimes the light turns red.


Red lights stop us in our tracks and impede our pursuit of our own plans. Cancer, chronic pain, a broken leg, the end of a relationship, a lost job, financial calamity… All these (and more) are red lights that put the brakes on life. We’re tempted to get angry and frustrated. But it’s at the red lights of life that we submit to being still before God and waiting for the perfect timing of his plan to be revealed. Red traffic lights test our trust in the orderly control of traffic. God’s red lights test our faith in his ability to maintain orderly control over our lives.  Red lights cause us to really unpack what it means that:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28


Do you really believe that? ALL things? Do you believe that God can use even disappointments and pain and an endless list of frustrating events to work out for good? Do you believe that God can use the red lights and yellow lights as much as the green lights in your life? You can, if the road you’re one that intentionally leads you ever closer to him, if it is marked with the passion of loving him and pursuing his purpose. And if you do, you may find the red lights that stop you and the yellow lights that urge caution will not lead you to frustration and anger, but to a place of peace where you draw closer to God and find him plenty sufficient for your needs.  It’s quite possible that the red light is not just delaying your progress but keeping you safe from a pending accident further down the road.


When you stop at a red traffic light today, take time to breathe slowly and deeply. Let yourself relax in his presence. Enjoy a moment of quiet peace at his invitation. Ask God to help you trust that his plan will not be interrupted by red lights and that indeed ALL things will work for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.


Travel well today.


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