You’re on the way to work and stuck in traffic. You left the house with just enough time to have you at your desk at the scheduled time for you to be there. You grumble to yourself and try to see what’s ahead. What’s causing the traffic ? Are they doing construction again ? You finally pass the reason for the traffic – a 3 car accident. You see an ambulance and the EMTs loading someone onto a stretcher. One of the cars is totaled. As you look, you think to yourself – Finally, the traffic has cleared a bit; maybe I can still get to work on time!
You’re at the light, on your way to pick up your children from the after school program. It’s 5:55 and you’re 3 minutes away. If you pick them up after 6, you’ll get charged a $20 fee. You would rather not have to pay that $20 so you drive fast so that you can make it on time. While coming to the green light, you see a funeral procession. Argh! I have to pick up my kids! I wish they would hurry up… Man, how many cars ARE there!? And when the procession has passed, you accelerate, thinking – Now I have to pay this fee!
It’s been a long day and you are hungry! You don’t want to go out and get food; you have some at home plus you’re tired… and you bought those delicious veggie burgers that you absolutely love. Your mouth is watering as you open the oven door. You place the patty in the oven and suddenly, the electricity goes out. You grumble to yourself and get suitable to walk outside and find out what’s going on. You see your neighbor standing in front of his house. What happened ? The neighbor explains that someone ran into a poll and somehow the transformer blew. What!? You ask how long it’ll be out, and your neighbor, who happens to work for the electric company, tells you that it may be a few hours. Great! Now you can’t eat that veggie burger that you were craving. That means you have to eat something cold, wait, or go out and get food. This sucks! Why’d this have to happen now!?
We’re so self centered. At times, our behavior would seem to indicate that the world revolves around us. In the first situation, you have people who are hurt, possibly dead… and all you can think about is the fact that you’re late to work. The second situation ? People have lost a loved one and they’re coming from the funeral home to the cemetary, preparing to see the body one last time. Hearts are broken, people are grieved, and all you can think about is the inconvenience of a fee. The third ? Someone crashed into a poll. You find out later that it was a pregnant woman whose 4 year old somehow got out of his car seat and grabbed her arm, causing her to lose control of the car and send her into a poll. But all you can think of is the fact that you are hungry.
How many times do these things happen to us ? Peoples’ tragedies end up being our ‘inconveniences’. I can be honest and say that I have felt like the above quite a few times unfortunately. How many times do we see these types of situations and genuinely pray for these people ? It doesn’t have to be a lengthy prayer, but a simple plea of “Lord please help them and cause them to know where the help came from”. Even as Christians, we can get too caught up in our own ordeals to realize that someone needs us. Someone needs our prayers. I pray that our hearts would become softened, that we would realize that it’s not, and never has been, about us. Why focus on the temporal when someone’s eternity can be affected ?
I pray the Lord would use this to minister to us all, that we may think of others and not esteem ourselves higher than them.
… but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-4 ESV
Grace and peace.