When we moved to London back in 1978, a traffic jam was something unheard of. If two cars got to the same light at the same time, it was basically because every planet had aligned and the sun was setting in the west. Today, it’s a different thing. London is growing and so is the possibility of a traffic jam. Coming out of the car wash the other day, I counted 27 cars that went by me before someone let me out.
Then I got to Walmart and tried to get a cart. I pulled on it, but didn’t realize that the safety strap on the cart had wrapped around the handle of the cart in front of it and they were stuck together. I was in a hurry, it had been a bad day, so I said rather loudly that I could remember a day when the greeters actually greeted you with a cart that was ready to go. Just as I said that, I turned around and there was a lady behind me giving me the hairy-eyeball look. I took my cart and went about my shopping but when I got home, I told Beth that I hoped she didn’t realize who I was by the picture in this column.
Sometimes, I have to remind myself I’m the pastor and I need to “cool my jets.” Trying to checkout, I got behind someone who still uses checks and you know how long that process can be. Sometimes I get behind someone who can come up with the $19, but they have to dig around in the bottom of their purse to find the 32 cents. I just want to hand them a dollar and say, “Pay your bill so I can check out too.”
There are days when it would have been better for me to stay in bed. I’m sure you can relate. Days when “if it can go wrong … it does.” Days when we get behind someone who actually drives the speed limit and won’t speed up so we can get to where we have to be on time. It drives me crazy when I need to come into town and driving State Route 56, which by the way is 55 MPH, and someone is driving 37 MPH. Step on the gas. Let’s go. Drive it or park it. Make the call or get out of the phone booth. My car will coast as fast as you’re driving. And on and on and on.
I have been talking about incidents that “try my patience.” That is one area where I need some work. I don’t have much patience. Maybe you do. Maybe you have the patience of Job. But maybe you lack in another area of your life. Spending? The lack of ability to save? Jealousy? Greed? Gossip? Not able to get along with your boss or a co-worker? Difficult situations in life? Times when “life comes at you fast? Not able to fully trust God in all situations? How do you react when the world tries to squeeze you into their mold? How do you respond to things when you are under pressure?
See … I have come to realize that every situation we find ourselves in — every situation — is a test from God to reveal to us our inadequacies in the Christian life. Despite what non-believers think, Christians aren’t perfect. We’re not perfect, but we are forgiven. We trip up and make mistakes every day. We sin and we will sin every day of our life until either Jesus comes again or we draw our last breath.
But the question is this: How do you respond under pressure? How do you respond when life comes at you fast? May I suggest you realize that this life we are living is simply a test? Life is a test. It’s only a test. And once we pass one test, then the Lord will allow us to have another. And then another and then another and so on and so forth. Life is a test. It is preparing us for in Heaven. Life is knocking the rough edges off of us and helping us to become more like God wants us to be — like Jesus. That is the ultimate desire that God has for His people — that we become more like Jesus. So where is the manual with the instructions to help us live life? It’s called the Bible. B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth).
How are you doing with life? How are you doing with the different tests that are coming your way? Here’s a hint on how to handle these tests: “Let go and let God.” Let go and let God have His way in your life. And remember — It’s only a test.”
And that is Something to Think About for this week.
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Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at email@example.com, www.3C-Church.org or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.