Ephesians 4:2: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Proverbs 14:29: A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.
Last Tuesday afternoon, I was leaving Athens to go visit my mother at her rehab facility in Baldwin, Ga. Our family got a late start and I must admit that I was running short on patience. Traffic was heavy, because it was the second day of classes at the University of Georgia and the five o’clock work traffic was already on the road. As we were driving down Lexington Road, I got behind a car that kept “tapping” the brakes. I couldn’t pass the car because the left lane was lined with traffic so I had to stay behind this slow moving, break tapping car.
After several miles, I finally got an opening to pass the car. By this point, I had run out of patience completely, I thought. As I passed the car and got back into the right lane, I tapped my brakes two or three times, just to let the driver know how it felt. We had to stop at the next light and the car that I was so aggravated with pulled up behind me. The driver of the car was a woman in her sixties and she had a cross hanging down from her rear view mirror. I felt ashamed of myself and my immature behavior and I told my wife and kids that I was sorry that I had acted so childishly.
Trying to make up lost time, I cut down a few side streets to try and avoid more traffic. As I approached an upcoming road, I noticed a pickup truck that was about to pull out. Surely this truck won’t pull out in front of me I thought, but he did. Driving this truck was an older gentleman who had his truck packed full of junk and he was maintaining a speed of 25 mph. I followed him for about three miles and we had to stop at three stoplights during that time.
Finally, we got to where the road turned into a passing lane, and just before we got there, this man turned off the road into a convenience store. I knew my children were watching me and what my reaction would be. There were probably thinking that dad was going to “sit down on the horn” on this poor fellow that had unknowingly put me even further behind. I remained calm however, hoping that our trip would now pick up a little speed.
After I had driven about a mile, my wife looked at me and said something that brought silence to the car. She said, “You know that if you had not hit the breaks several times in front of that lady, you would have been well past that road that the man pulled out in front of you from.” The kids sat quietly waiting to see what my reaction would be. After a few seconds, I began to laugh and so did everyone else. My wife was right, my immature reaction and lack of patience, slowed us down enough that we got behind this man that was traveling at a snail’s pace.
I’m not going to suggest that God put these people in my way in order to help me cultivate more patience, or did He?