Every Wednesday night, I pull one of my fourteen Bibles off the shelf, get in the car, and drive to Bible study.
After two hours of intense discussion about important topics such as God’s timing and what kind of hair product our worship leader uses, I’m recharged until Sunday.
With peers, I share what God is teaching me and how I’m trying to be more intentional about community. I even feel like I’m starting to walk in the Spirit. Then I get in my car, taking the two-minute drive home, still high on spiritual serotonin, and that’s when the traffic light hits.
That awful, evil, demonic traffic light. It must have descended straight from Beelzebub, because it appears from out of nowhere (as the Devil often does in movies). And I swear that light only turns red when I approach it. All other times, it is definitely green.
The brakes in my Toyota come to a screeching halt, Chick-fil-a boxes fly to the floorboards, and I start cussing like a sailor.
Not one of those reformed sailors, mind you. Not even a “good” pirate like Jack Sparrow. No. A veritable, no-good, scurvy-ridden, filthy-mouthed scourge of the seas.
For the whole Bible study, I keep my cool. Full of grace, I share Bonhoeffer quotes like they’re going out of style, sprinkling my speech with Bible verses and Mumford and Sons lyrics. My friends are wowed by my theological insight and cultural relevance.
And frankly, so am I.
But nobody hears my nearly satanic tirade in the car. Nobody sees me fly off the handle, screaming at the dashboard. Nobody witnesses that part.
Nobody but me.
Normally, I am full of patience. I’m the guy who prays for God to “break our heart for the things that break Yours” (even capitalize pronouns in prayers). But as soon as I exit my comfortable circle of Christianity, I plunge straight back into depravity. So fast that even John Calvin can’t stop the descent.
I’m good at being patient when I want to. But in traffic, all bets are off. This is a place where God’s grace does not reach, an inner circle of hell Dante definitely neglected to mention in the Inferno.
So I scream and shout and say words that would make even Mark Driscoll blush, offended my two-minute drive home has now turned into a five-minute trip.
Sorry, friends. I’ve got places to be and shows to watch. I gave my hour and a half of spirituality, and now it’s back to the rest of life.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind waiting — when it’s up to me, when it’s my call, when it makes me look spiritual.
But when I don’t have a choice, that doesn’t really feel like waiting. During those times, I’d much rather bypass the traffic light and just pay the ticket I get in the mail. Worse things could happen, right?
I could miss the first few minutes of Criminal Minds. And that, friends, is something that truly can’t wait.
Do you struggle at the stoplight?
To keep up with Jeff, check out his new book (which is all about waiting).