Then Balaam confessed to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I didn’t realize you were standing in the road to block my way.” Numbers 22:34
I have become abundantly more patient than I could have imagined over the years. And I can sympathize with that saying about God giving you reasons to become patient, when you specifically ask for patience. This morning in the midst of my pity party over having absolutely nothing to wear that looked quite right (that is a story for another post), God reminded me there is at least one area in which I could practice a little bit more patience. It has to do with my rage. Specifically, road rage.
I can be as cool as a cucumber. I could have had the best morning, the best day. I could have displayed the patience of Job in every other situation on a given day, but get me behind the wheel of a car, and the calm, the coolness, the patience I once had quickly flies out the window!
But, let me explain, because really-it isn’t my fault at all!
That car cut me off and almost clipped my front bumper. This car over here to my left obviously doesn’t understand the right of way. Oh.my.goodness. Could this person in front of me go any slower? Oh.my.goodness. Could this person behind me get any closer?
See, it isn’t my fault! Clearly, these drivers give me good reason to be so impatient!
Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool. Ecclesiastes 7:9
True, it is not my fault. but it is also evident that like Balaam with his donkey in Numbers 22, I have a long way to go in the self-control department. And, I must remember…self-control means that I can’t control the actions of other drivers. I can’t control the stoplights. I can’t control the traffic. However, I can control my reaction to those things. I can get behind the wheel of my car, put a smile on my face, instead of the grimace that characterizes my road rage, and praise God for the job to where I am driving. Praise Him at the stoplights that have been placed along the path to my destination. Praise Him for the road blocks that have a purpose. Praise Him for the patience He has shown me. Ask Him for the strength needed to show this same patience to others. To show the grace that wills me to utter a prayer for the tailgater, the slow poke, or the front end clipper.
Then I will be able to release the white knuckle grip that I have on my steering wheel just a tad, release the tension caused by my road rage, and finally show the coolness, the calm, and the patience He has given me.
Lord, help me relinquish the control I want to have over my time, my circumstances, and my daily activity. Help me suppress the anger I want to express when things do not go my way. Teach me how to show love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in every situation, and with every person I encounter. In Jesus’ lovely name. Amen.