Yesterday I wrote a devotional all about getting stuck at a green light when God says GO. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone, for I believe at one time or another we all have found ourselves stuck at a green light. On the other hand, I believe if we are honest with ourselves we will find that we have all had the experience of running a red light when God says STOP.
I cannot count how many times I have gone barreling ahead in my life when God clearly has said STOP. Now why would He say stop when I am going full steam ahead? Easy answer. God ALWAYS knows what is best. He knows the best way, the best timing, the best outcome, and every other “best” there is. But we human beings have a way of coming up with our own directions, our own timetables, our own ways and means, and our own concept of when it’s time to GO and when it’s time to STOP.
Why, when we know the price we will pay when we run a red light, would we run one anyway? I don’t know about you, but I have my fair share of running red lights. Years ago, I ran a red light because I was convinced it was broken. Ever convinced yourself God isn’t working properly, and you know what is best? Yeah, me too. I have also run plenty of red lights because I couldn’t quite figure out when to stop or when to continue. Seriously. The yellow light came on, and like one of those silly squirrels I couldn’t figure out whether to stop or go. Yikes. One of my pastors caught me in this act about six months ago. He, along with my ex-husband, enjoyed telling me over lunch how they had happily watched me run the red light. Have you ever run one of God’s red lights because you couldn’t quite figure out what to do? Ahem. Me, too.
Of course, some time ago (years, I hope if my memory serves me correctly) I was a crazy driver. Aggressive. Angry. Impatient. Rude. Selfish. Thinking only about me. And where I wanted to go. And when. And anything else that had to do with ME. Ever run one of God’s red lights because you were too little focused on HIM and too much focused on YOU? Oh yeah, me too. Oh, there are plenty of reasons and justifications for running red lights, right? But I’m not just talking about driving in our cars. I’m talking about driving in our lives – while sticking God in the back seat, if we sit Him anywhere at all.
So what about God’s red lights? What exactly am I talking about? Has God ever said STOP to you? Oh yeah. Me, too. He has told me to stop doing something altogether. He has told me to stop and wait. He has tried to stop me from oncoming traffic. He has stopped me at intersections in my life. He has stopped me to look both ways before I go. He has stopped me to spend time with me. He has stopped me to pray and listen before I proceed. He has stopped me to chasten me. He has stopped me to correct me. He has stopped me to teach me and grow me before I go. He has stopped me because I was going the wrong direction. Or, should I say, He has TRIED to stop me. Have I always stopped? No; I have not.
In fact, sometimes I couldn’t hear Him. Sometimes I didn’t want to hear Him. Sometimes I listened to the devil instead of Him. Sometimes I listened to the world (to other humans) instead of Him. Sometimes I listened to myself instead of Him. Sometimes I was too distracted to pay attention. Oh, for whatever reason, for whatever reasons, I would not stop. Or, sometimes I started to run the red light – and then stopped. Oops, I was already in the middle of traffic. Dangerous. So dangerous.
Red lights have a purpose, and this purpose can literally result in a matter of life or death. So can God’s red lights, and yet we humans have such a tendency to decide what color we are seeing. Green? Yellow? Red? Somewhere in between?
When God says STOP, He means STOP. He means business.
Is there any area in your life in which He is calling you to STOP?
Lord, you know the deal. I have been so stressed out. My plate has been so full. I have had that yucky icky anxiety from the old days. I have been angry, I have been overwhelmed, I have been – well – you know the deal. Just like I said. But do you know something, God? I know that I know that I know YOU KNOW WHAT IS BEST. And when you say GO, and when you say STOP, you have your reasons. I have no right to question you.
You always know what is best. Please, Father, forgive me for the green lights at which I have been stuck – and for the red lights I have run. Your Bible tells me to not look to the right or left, but to stay focused on you and the Bible. If I look to the sides, Lord, I will not see whether the light is green, yellow, or red. Please, Father, help me to focus on you and your Word. And please, Lord, give me the willingness, the desire, and the strength to obey.
I ask, Lord, in the name of Jesus, that you would use today’s devotional to convict people’s hearts of where in their lives they might need to come into obedience. And, Lord, please help them, and me, to TRUST YOU, to trust and obey. In the name of your Son, Amen.
Jos 1:7 “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.”