Dear Beachside Family and Friends,
I developed my driving skills as a teenager living in Atlanta, GA. I remember well that the major highways and residential streets were all fully occupied by thousands of vehicles whose drivers were in a hurry, but going nowhere fast. I had to drive to school and work five days a week, leaving early in the morning and returning late in the afternoon. At that time there were two southbound lanes and two northbound lanes of I-85 through downtown, and during the morning and afternoon rush, traffic moved more slowly than a new bottle of ketchup.
When I returned to Atlanta in 1998 for a brief sojourn, I discovered that I-85 ha expanded to six southbound and six northbound lanes. I was pleased to find this expansion in place, until the first day I once again experienced rush hour. Instead of thousands of cars doing the slow dash to downtown, there were now TENS of thousands of vehicles choking the roadway. I knew then that the more things change, the more they remain the same.
Coping with traffic as a teenager is a challenge. With years of motor vehicle experience under one's belt (or steering wheel) it should be less so. The unfortunate truth is that most drivers are no better at handling the frustrations of heavy traffic as adults than they were as teenagers. Some become so angry that they give in to road rage, violently venting their displeasure by attacking other drivers. When this occurs, it is clear that the offenders are missing a quality in their lives that would enable them to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride, or the enforced parking practice. That quality is PATIENCE.
Members of our society are not happily disposed to wait. We want to get everywhere as fast as possible, and when we arrive, we do not want to wait very long for the goods or services we traveled to acquire. The lack of patience in our population is evidenced by many who just cannot wait for anything. They cannot stand in line without constantly grumbling and complaining, and will push others out of the way if they think they can obtain their objective more quickly. Conflict then ensues, with the lives of the innocent disrupted and often damaged. We need the return of PATIENCE.
Patience used to be taught by example through the lives of caring parents and school teachers. Some children and students listened, and some did not. The battle for patience is won or lost in the mind. Where our thoughts lead, words and actions will follow. No one knows this better than our old adversary Satan. He costantly works to fill the human mind with impatient, rude, and destructive thoughts. The devil has no patience whatever. If he did, he would still be called Lucifer and would still be enjoying the presence of God in Heaven.
Patience is difficult to develop through mental discipline. Trying to think one's way into patience will not work, as most will become impatient about becoming patient. There is a way to develop the necessary quality of patience. It begins by recognizing that patience is first and foremost a spiritual force, one that can only be exercised in partnership with God.
Galatians 5:22-23 tells us "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" As the power of the Holy Spirit works with our human spirits we can manifest the same patience that God has. How patient is He? He waited through thousands of years of constant rejection by us for just the right time to send His Son to the earth. "But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.
(Galatians 4:4) God is love, and love personified has this quality: "Love is patient and kind...(1 Corinthians 13:4)
Since God lives in us and is patient, we also have His capacity for patience. When we give our lives to prayer in the Holy Spirit, patience will manifest in our lives, making us complete. "But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:4) We cannot be complete in God without patience, and we cannot have patience without God. Let's bring the power of patience back to our lives and set the example for a kinder and more peaceful society.
The roads in Panama City Beach are waiting for their annual transformation into the highways and byways of Atlanta. Tens of thousands of visiting drivers will put us to the test. We should practice praying for those who flip us off, cut us off, and tell us off. Let's make our lives in God complete. Let patience have its' perfect work in us this Spring!