When God Smiled During a Traffic Jam

A military mom finds peace while stuck in her car during rush hour.

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A smiling woman at the wheel of her car

I don’t know anyone who enjoys driving in rush hour traffic, and I’m no different. I work hard to plan my days to avoid this perilous time, but sometimes it just can’t be helped. 

One afternoon I was stuck in a particularly long line of cars at 5pm in December. Rush hour is bad enough the rest of the year, but at Christmas it’s ridiculous. I was already having a difficult day, our son was on his first deployment, our other two sons had a big youth group party at the church that night, and I was late getting supper ready. Navigating the stop and go traffic as I inched toward home, my frustration continued to build, and that’s when God began to speak. 

I knew it was Him when I heard the whisper of a single word—peace. The word was so clearly spoken that I glanced at the radio, but it was off. I took a deep breath and strained to hear where the word had come from. I heard it again and this time I recognized that it was being breathed into my soul from my Heavenly Father. 

“Seriously? Now, in the midst of this kind of traffic—with all I have to do—you want me to focus on peace?” My words—spoken out loud—weren’t very respectful but they were an honest reaction. 

Instead of being blasted by a lightning bolt, I felt God smile. He already knew how I was feeling and wasn’t offended by my irreverent response. I apologized and my focus changed from the irritating traffic to seeing what He had to show me. 

As I sat in that frustrating situation, He began to draw parallels between my current situation and the struggle I was having with our son on deployment. I still come back to these two insights whenever I’m facing a difficult situation: 

1)  External situations don’t have to color internal reactions.
When I lift my eyes from the traffic jams of life and return them to my loving Father, I can and will find peace.

2)  Gradual progress counts.
Sitting in the stop and go of traffic made me feel like I wasn’t going anywhere. But truthfully I was. It was slow, but I was moving. 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NIV)

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