I sat in traffic, not knowing nor realizing that I had begun my day already late. I woke up and left the house around 7:18 AM, already 10 minutes ahead of schedule. However, as I traveled down the Dan Ryan highway in Chicago, the impending lights caused my brakes to come to a screeching halt. And like that, my schedule was upended. I texted my principal, and what was initially planned to be a 25-minute ride, turned into one that lasted well over an hour and a half in standstill traffic.
How often do we plan, schedule, adjust, prepare—only to be brought to a screeching halt? God works in and beyond schedules and even time. He somehow possesses control over every living moment of our lives, in and through our schedules. My mind can’t fathom it at times. The moments that I think I’m in control, I’m not. As I’ve recently been reading through the first half of the book of 1 Kings, I see that many persons in history probably thought that they were in control, not realizing the previous promises made to ancestors—allowing certain kingdoms to rise or fall, certain people to live or die, and certain persons to come into power due to the Lord’s faithfulness to one’s lineage. But as I sat in traffic today, it was hard to recall that even the Lord had this subtle schedule delay in control all along. I thought I was in traffic only due to my own misgivings. Therefore, I simply sat thinking of how I should’ve left earlier, how I should’ve checked Google maps before taking this route, and how I should’ve should’ve could’ve “XYZ.”
The previous day, the Spirit told me to begin praying for traveling mercy for both Evan (husband) and I. I’d never felt this prompting from the Spirit to randomly pray for traveling mercy during my regular day-to-day activity. Usually, Evan and I would always pray when going on a long road trip or when jetting off on an airplane. But the Spirit kept reminding me to pray for traveling mercy. And so I did.
But by the next day, I had completely forgotten this prompting as I sat in traffic. By the time I arrived at school, I had a sliver of 2-3 minutes before beginning my first class. While walking briskly to my classroom, a teacher yelled out from her desk, “Jess you good?” This teacher knew that I had missed my first-period prep.
“Yeah, I finally made it in,” I responded, a bit out of breath.
“Yeah, I heard they shut down the Dan Ryan due to some police activity.”
“Yeah they were shooting on the highway and some car got shot at.”
Due to needing to get to my classroom, I didn’t have time to adequately respond. Yet, my thoughts began racing.
Wait, what?! Some car got shot at. Some car...was shot.
Here I was, consumed by my own natural thoughts... not realizing, nor thinking, of the mercy and grace of being stuck in traffic. I had succumbed to view my situation merely through a natural lens, rather than to thank the Lord for what He was doing in the supernatural realm. If I had left earlier… who knows? All I can say ask is, how can one not see the Sovereignty of God? I made it to school, just in time, in one piece. And though I don’t know all of the reasons for being stuck in traffic—to say that it didn’t work out for my good (however “good” is defined), is preposterous. No, the Lord is in control and it is Him that I will continue to serve and give all the glory.
PonderedThought: Next time your carefully planned schedule is unexpectedly thwarted, be careful to immediately look towards the means by which you could’ve prevented the situation. It’s already there. Instead, look up and ask the Lord the following:
“Lord, how are you working in and through this situation for my good and for Your glory?”