On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your level of joy when driving in city traffic? That’s what I thought, somewhere alongside a root canal or fingernails on a chalk board. At least five days a week I find myself driving anywhere between thirty minutes and an hour to get to work on freeways that alternate between NASCAR events and long, narrow parking lots. Patience (and sanity) is often in short supply with my fellow commuters. Most of the time (notice I didn’t say ALL the time) I do pretty good going to work. ‘How?’ you ask. Well…I’ll let The Word explain.
“You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength.” Isaiah 26:3-4 (New King James).
In those two verses lie the secret to not only enduring, but even enjoying, snarled traffic. In my mind’s eye I try to picture what kind of driver Jesus would be and how he would react to that jer…eh, that saint, or future saint, that just cut me off. We all know He would be driving a Honda because the Bible clearly states they were all in one Accord.
Sorry, that was bad even for me.
When I returned to work after taking a year off to begin writing The Peacemakers Series I determined to make one major change in my habits. On the drive to work I no longer listen to the radio…I listen to God. I talk some and give voice to various prayers of thanksgiving, praise and petition, but mainly I listen. It’s amazing how much He has to say if you determine your mind will be stayed on God. And here is the really cool part…when I get to work I’m in a good mood. Amazing! God is more powerful than the spirit of impatience that hovers over the freeways. Who knew?
In fact, it’s during these morning commutes that many of the story lines and dialogue for the books come to me. Like manna from heaven they seem to fall. It’s almost like having CJ and David and Bea and Billy Paul in the car with me. It’s fun traveling with that crew.
I can tell you are curious about the drive home. Do I do the same thing? I must confess…I do not. By then I’m tired, my mind needs a rest and my blood sugar is low. But, another new habit has been formed. Instead of listening to contentious talk radio, or sad country songs, or whatever else might be playing, I turn to a classical music station. I’ve never listened to much Bach or Mozart and to tell the truth it’s not my first choice of music, but I appreciate the genius of it. I also think of their lives and what it was like living in their day before electricity…before cars…before freeways.