[E]ver experience a day that feels like one big test? Mine was a recent Friday and it began with running late. I was late to nearly everything. A 7am prayer breakfast. An 8am meeting. A 9am appointment. A 10am phone call. There were people requesting feedback. E-mails to reply to. Problems to solve. Stress upon stress. Test upon test.
Then there was the noon luncheon I was responsible for. I rushed to the meeting room only to discover it completely unprepared for our important guests (including the company president!). The luncheon ran late, so I was late meeting my wife afterwards. We jumped in the car to race 7 hours from Orlando to Atlanta to spend the weekend with family. But of course, traffic was bad. Entire fleets of enormous 18-wheelers surrounded us. Driving a small Honda Accord next to these mammoths makes my wife nervous–which makes me nervous.
When we finally reached the outskirts of Atlanta, just a few miles from our destination, traffic came to a standstill. In 20 minutes we moved maybe 20 feet. Exhaust fumes engulfed us. I nearly lost it. I felt frustrated, nauseated and irritated. Almost nothing had gone right today. And although some of it wasn’t my fault, some of it was. Why, I wondered, don’t I plan my life better? Why can’t I do my work faster? Why can’t I be more confident? Why do I get so upset over things beyond my control? Why can’t I learn to accept myself for who I am?
Silently I studied the taillights in front of me as questions whirled through my head. To take my mind off the frustrating day I turned on the car stereo and put on a Max Lucado recording. It was a live presentation of songs and readings from Max’s book “He Chose the Nails.” And in the midst of an Atlanta traffic jam I heard these words…
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son.” Aren’t you glad the verse doesn’t read, “For God so loved the rich or the famous, the sober or successful, the young or the old?”. . . How wide is God’s love? Wide enough for the whole world. Are you included in the world? Then you’re included in God’s love.
As the words sank deep, music played, frustration dissolved, and spirits lifted. Suddenly all the hurry, worry and flurry of the day melted away. Peace settled in. “For God so loved the world…” That meant He loved every person, in every car, in every traffic jam in the world. Including me.
He loves me in spite of every question I’ve ever had about myself. He loves me on good days and bad days equally. He loves me despite all my faults, failures and foibles. Just knowing that made me feel…grateful.
Thank you Lord.
Thank you for the traffic jam that slowed me down.
Thank you for Max Lucado who lifted my spirits up.
Thank you for your love that reaches me anywhere.
And most of all, thank you for putting all 3 together
when I needed them most.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV
Question: In the midst of your busy life, has God ever slowed you down and given you a clear message of his love for you? How did you feel or respond? (Share your thoughts in the comments)