Reading the Signals

As many motorists would tell you, driving at any time can be extremely challenging.

There are speed limits and stop signs to consider and obey, as well as construction and rush-hour traffic that can wreak havoc on road conditions and arrival times.

There is the stress brought on by weather for drivers and passengers alike, whether it is early-morning fog, bright afternoon sunshine, late-night heavy rain or any other trick up Mother Nature’s sleeve.

Other vehicles passing by, pedestrians and cyclists to always be mindful of, our favorite song playing on the radio or an incoming phone call on Bluetooth can also serve as some of the countless aspects that test our constant attention when behind the wheel.

For me, one of the items on the driving watch-for checklist has long been traffic lights.

I could be distracted by something around me, in a hurry to get to my destination, lost in thought over an event in my life or caught up in a conversation with people in the car – the changing of a traffic light always seems to catch me at the worst time.

Traffic LightsWhen sitting at the stop line, I anxiously await a red light to turn green and give me the go-ahead. When cruising towards an upcoming intersection, I tense up at the sight of a yellow signal, as I am forced to instantly determine if I can stop safely or if I should proceed with caution.

I wonder if God sometimes chooses to act like a set of traffic lights.

For instance, how often do we want to say or do something despite our conscience telling us otherwise?

Like an audience watching a silent film and yelling “no!” to warn a character tempted to open a closed door, God frequently tells us to stop whatever it is we are thinking or doing, in order to protect us from further harm.

It could be a sudden noise we hear in the midst of a lustful gaze at someone or the appearance of an individual just as we are about to begin an angry and profanity-laced tirade. Whatever the case, God has a unique way of showing us a red light.

At that time, He lovingly places His hand on our shoulder to remind us how to act, saving us from unchangeable and regretful action. (Psalm 101:3 & Proverbs 21:23)

Then there are times we are unsure of how to behave in any given circumstance.

For example, so many of us have, at one point or another, been tempted or pressured to go against our parents’ teachings in order to conform at a party. We may have also had the inclination to speak up in front of a group against an injustice, only to hesitate out of fear for repercussions.

During such moments of uncertainty or trepidation, God guides us calmly like a yellow traffic signal, reminding us of what is most important in the situation. (Matthew 6:21)

Of course, God also clears an obvious path for us to take advantage of various opportunities in our lives.

These green (including left or right turn) lights are found all around us, such as when a neighbor mentions an employment opportunity just as we are desperately seeking a summer job, or when a girl approaches a guy to ask him out on a date after he had been too shy to do so the past several encounters.

Naturally, though, like any green light at an intersection, we must never squander a chance granted by the Lord, for He is blessing us with a happy ending. (John 13:17 & James 1:22)

But just as we choose how to react in our vehicles to any of the three colored traffic lights, we equally have our God-given free will to follow God’s direction in any scenario.

And, just like in driving, we must still remember we reap the results of our actions.

Thus, may we always strive to heed God’s guidance in order that we may drive along the road of life safely and free of both tickets and accidents.

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