We recently moved and, from our new home to work, there are three places where two lanes merge into one. Since getting behind a slow car can mean a lengthier drive, I found myself being more aggressive in driving, trying to get ahead of any cars I might perceive as “slow.”
After a few weeks of this, I began to feel the conviction of the Lord that I wasn’t demonstrating “preferring one another” in my race to get ahead of the other cars. I did find slowing down a little and showing honor to others, even if I didn’t know them, to be less stressful. It helped to practice that breath prayer “My times are in His hands” (see Stoplight Prayers) when I did get stuck behind a slow car. Overall, the drive became more enjoyable as I concentrated on resting in God’s timing for my day instead of “getting ahead.”
Not long after this, on a drive home, I noticed a car behind me honk and swerve wildly when another driver pulled out in front of her. I didn’t think much of it as I continued on my way nearing the next “merge” point. I looked to my right and saw a truck further in front of me with a load in the back. I probably could have sped up and passed him, but still unfamiliar with how long the merge area really was and wanting to put my “preferring others” into practice, I didn’t try to speed up and pass him. Ms. Irate behind me didn’t appreciate my Christianity. She pulled behind the truck, thinking maybe she could pass me as well, however, the merge was short and we were quickly down to one lane. Laying on the horn, and swerving around, she very reluctantly pulled back behind me. As I looked in the rear-view mirror, I could see her rage filled face and unkind gesturing.
Although I had every right to be upset at her erratic driving and disrespectful response, I knew that she was on my path that day for a purpose. I wondered what kind of pain she must carry to respond like that. I prayed for her to encounter God in a powerful way and find healing (as well as safety for her and other drivers around her!). Throughout that day and even as I write this, I see her angry face in my mind and lift her up in prayer. I don’t believe these things are random. I believe God puts us in places at the right time so that we can pray for people, whether we ever see them again or not.
I hope you don’t encounter “road rage” any time soon, but if you do, know God has a purpose. Thank God for the divine encounter and opportunity to pray for a wounded soul.