Rubber Neck

I wonder if you dread, like I do, those two red lights on the back of cars.  The brake lights ahead, and the cascading snowball that ensues.  You know what I’m talking about by now.  That same pit in your stomach has formed from memories past.  We are all familiar with this sigh of disgust as we travel, halfway through a long road trip and we see them.  Those two red lights of death ahead and the stopped traffic they are signaling!  The traffic jam!  Often what follows, after these red lights have inflicted their damage, is a mix of crying children, honking horns, the radio mysteriously going to all commercials (as if they know there are hundreds of people stopped and on the verge of going postal), and the words “daddy I’m booooored”.  Just typing those words has caused me to break into a cold sweat.

As I ponder my reaction to this common delay and distraction my mind seems drawn to this place not just on the highways and byways of our road trips, but also on the journey of life.  Distractions are a big deal.  We find them blinking their red lights at us at every turn.  They slow us down, frustrate us, discourage and distract. They come from a myriad of people and places. They can be the manipulative boss at work, the struggling marriage, the next financial crisis, a discouraging word in “love” and “concern”.  You may be facing a distraction right now, today, this moment.  Possibly seeing this email pop up is distracting you from something… :).  Whatever it is, the truth to be found is that we all face distraction of many kinds.

At first glance our reaction seems justified.  I find myself wanting to type the encouragement to not get distracted!  Don’t allow the distraction to win, we all hate the rubber neck traffic jams!  We have a tendency to want to stare at the distraction.  It consumes our attention.   How could it not?  I mean look at it right! Turn away, don’t look at it, don’t let it slow you down.  But today I feel that God’s truth calls us to see our distractions in a different light.  What if He wanted to use our distractions for His good in us?  What if he wanted to guide us to healing and truth through distractions?  What if the delay those red lights of death cause is not a bad thing?  What if He wants to use distractions to get us to stop and have the time to really hear Him?

I don’t know about you but I needed that perspective this week.  The distractions I face, the opposition, the hard times, crisis, pain, my humanness longs to move on, longs for the traffic jam to clear so I don’t have to be stuck anymore.  But God, in His great “redefining” says stay awhile so that I can heal you.  Stay awhile, so that I can move in you.  Stay awhile so that I can be your strength, so that I can set things straight.  Stay awhile…

   2 Corinthians 12:9-10 The Message 

My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

So, what distractions are you facing?  Maybe today instead of moving on, God wants you to stay awhile and hear Him speak His truth into your life.  Maybe today God wants to show you the amazing freedom that comes when we let Him turn our weakness into His strength.  When we let Him show us what it means to really know that His grace is truly enough.  I invite you today to join me…

…lets stay awhile…

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