When driving in traffic, watch for drivers who are impatient and move from lane to lane even though they rarely get two car lengths ahead of the vehicles they’ve rushed around. Wait for them to pass. It’s slow moving traffic, and in reality each driver has someplace to go, and doesn’t want to sit in the jam. Pray that the speeder, darting back and forth, doesn’t cause an accident. This has been my day’s journey on a New York thruway in bumper-to-bumper traffic, with rain pouring.
One Toyota decides to whizz from the middle to the fast lane, and then straddle the lines between a truck and a car. I slow down to get three car lengths away from the crazy driver. I wonder if he will go through that small passage. I shake my head—Does the driver realize he is not riding a motorcycle? If he gets on the shoulder, that will be safest for the rest of us travelers. Other drivers distance themselves as well.
I remain alert watching and waiting for the crazy driver despite my own eagerness to get to my destination. On this Sunday, I’ve been up since six in the morning, and those well-laid plans have gone awry—GPS missing, yellow jacket stings my mother, unexpected emergency room visit, three hours late for check-in, need to eat dinner, and the road is slippery as night descends upon us. And the only, and the best, thing to do is pray. Lord, keep us safe and slow that driver down.
I understand about being impatient. Patience is not my strong point. If I’m dieting, I want to lose five pounds by the end of the week. When I exercise, I want toned muscles and a six-pack in two weeks. Ha. When I write a short story, I want it completed—revisions included—accepted, and published in six weeks. If I need to explain something, and the person doesn’t understand what I believe is a simple take, I grow impatient. Reality check.
Patience is an asset. It helps us become tolerant of others, including ourselves. It keeps us safe. It improves our ability to persevere when we’re waiting. And God calls us to have patience and to wait patiently on Him while he fights our battles, orders our steps, brings us through the storm, and tests our faith.
So, watch, wait and pray.
Prayer For Patience
God, teach me to be patient, teach me to go slow,
Teach me how to wait on You when my way I do not know.
Teach me sweet forbearance when things do not go right
So I remain unruffled when others grow uptight.
Teach me how to quiet my racing, rising heart
So I might hear the answer You are trying to impart.
Teach me to let go, dear God, and pray undisturbed until
My heart is filled with inner peace and I learn to know your will.
– Helen Steiner Rice