My road in life: What to do with too many red lights, stop signs and obstacles

One of my joys is the opportunity to drive my son to school in the morning. Often we chat about video games, life, God, how chores are for building character and such. I love this time with my son. But, sometimes I leave just late enough to cause stress for my son and I. He loathes the idea of being tardy–as he should. Some mornings the traffic lights are all green and the four-mile drive is effortless. It’s as if all is right with the world. No obstacles. The destination appears almost too quickly. My son and I have to actually interrupt our chat and he is off to class.

The most troubling are the days when every single red light is hit, there is traffic and the parent drop off looks like the 91 Riverside freeway during rush hour. There is no way to cut corners, speed up or defy the laws of nature. You simply have to nudge inch by inch.

With all the variations in how a journey on the road plays out you cannot help but wonder if you are headed to the same destination. The truth is that taking the same road will lead you to the same destination, but the conditions, timing, and context of your journey determine what that journey looks like. Yes, each one’s road seems different even though we are all on it together.

I remember a musician friend of mine who bemoaned the fact that he got a girl pregnant from a one night stand. His biggest complaint was how all his friends did it and none of them ended up like him. Yes, his life was tormented after this and almost ruined from an unbelievable set of circumstances. But, how about the others that took that same path?

The Bible says that “you will reap what you sow” and makes it clear that our choices will add up. The musician friend of mine took an express lane. But his friends were on the same path. They would find hardship in relationships based on the damage of having multiple sex partners. They would struggle with intimacy and pay a price. My friend got the green lights. His friends had traffic. But they all ended up at the same place–eventually.

One of the biggest barriers to growth as a believer is owning up to the choices or the roads we have traveled. We complain when things do not happen quickly enough which is at times as crazy as someone screaming at the 91 Freeway during peak traffic. “God, I have been praying for a while now, but…”  “Jesus, I have been reading my Bible all week and am still waiting to get some answer.”

If we are on the right road, then whether we have red lights or green lights will not matter. The same is true if we are on the wrong road. Eventually, we will pay the price. Or, for the better eventually we will be rewarded.

This not a mean God who set this up. God loves us deeply and He makes this pretty obvious to us. We as Christians choose to live in the moment in our culture today and microwave our spiritual formation rather than cultivate our soul. This is why we need salvation from ourselves. We just do not get it at times.

What we do not get is that the right road hurts at times. We can have obstacles thrown at us that we never imagined. Someone could get cancer, or lose their home or fail in marriage. Being on the right road does not mean nor guarantee that our time on the road is as smooth as they guy’s next to me.

I wrote a song not too long ago that we recently sang in church that mentions one very important yet forgotten the word in our faith–providence. Providence is God’s hand in everything. With Providence, life makes sense. It does not matter who occupies the White House, what natural disaster is at play in the news or the circumstances of my personal journey. God is in control and has included me as a unique stitch in His tapestry.

So, we can choose to complain about the red lights. Or, be glad the road of faith we have chosen is taking us to a destination worthy of the sacrifice, pain, and suffering this side of heaven deals us.

Be bitter, or be broken. Which will you choose?

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

35 comments

  1. Love it. Thank you for that. Best line I have read in awhile “microwave our spiritual formation rather than cultivate our soul”

  2. Love it. Thank you for that. Best line I have read in awhile “microwave our spiritual formation rather than cultivate our soul”

  3. Love it. Thank you for that. Best line I have read in awhile “microwave our spiritual formation rather than cultivate our soul”

  4. Love it. Thank you for that. Best line I have read in awhile “microwave our spiritual formation rather than cultivate our soul”

  5. Love it. Thank you for that. Best line I have read in awhile “microwave our spiritual formation rather than cultivate our soul”

  6. AMEN!!! Dude, what a great post, and an awesome perspective! Thanks for sharing this!

  7. AMEN!!! Dude, what a great post, and an awesome perspective! Thanks for sharing this!

  8. AMEN!!! Dude, what a great post, and an awesome perspective! Thanks for sharing this!

  9. AMEN!!! Dude, what a great post, and an awesome perspective! Thanks for sharing this!

  10. AMEN!!! Dude, what a great post, and an awesome perspective! Thanks for sharing this!

  11. Good stuff Rich, a bit longer than usual! I feel like the road I’m on is a construction detour through the backwoods, but you’re right: God is sovereign, and his providence means that we can kick back and have good conversations while we wait for red lights.

  12. Good stuff Rich, a bit longer than usual! I feel like the road I’m on is a construction detour through the backwoods, but you’re right: God is sovereign, and his providence means that we can kick back and have good conversations while we wait for red lights.

  13. Good stuff Rich, a bit longer than usual! I feel like the road I’m on is a construction detour through the backwoods, but you’re right: God is sovereign, and his providence means that we can kick back and have good conversations while we wait for red lights.

  14. Good stuff Rich, a bit longer than usual! I feel like the road I’m on is a construction detour through the backwoods, but you’re right: God is sovereign, and his providence means that we can kick back and have good conversations while we wait for red lights.

  15. Good stuff Rich, a bit longer than usual! I feel like the road I’m on is a construction detour through the backwoods, but you’re right: God is sovereign, and his providence means that we can kick back and have good conversations while we wait for red lights.

  16. Rich,Very good stuff. Bitter or broken…I feel like I’m both most days. How do I get out of this pit? Lamentations 3:20 – I must remember God’s mercy and unfailing love. For some reason, it is so difficult for me to believe God loves me when people that should love me don’t.

  17. Rich,Very good stuff. Bitter or broken…I feel like I’m both most days. How do I get out of this pit? Lamentations 3:20 – I must remember God’s mercy and unfailing love. For some reason, it is so difficult for me to believe God loves me when people that should love me don’t.

  18. Rich,Very good stuff. Bitter or broken…I feel like I’m both most days. How do I get out of this pit? Lamentations 3:20 – I must remember God’s mercy and unfailing love. For some reason, it is so difficult for me to believe God loves me when people that should love me don’t.

  19. Rich,Very good stuff. Bitter or broken…I feel like I’m both most days. How do I get out of this pit? Lamentations 3:20 – I must remember God’s mercy and unfailing love. For some reason, it is so difficult for me to believe God loves me when people that should love me don’t.

  20. Rich,Very good stuff. Bitter or broken…I feel like I’m both most days. How do I get out of this pit? Lamentations 3:20 – I must remember God’s mercy and unfailing love. For some reason, it is so difficult for me to believe God loves me when people that should love me don’t.

  21. “For some reason, it is so difficult for me to believe God loves me when people that should love me don’t.”
    That is one of the central questions all people have. Think about it. If you or I was born in a different continent, we may not have made it past preschool due to poverty. Can God be good and loving when the world is the way it is? God is not the cause of evil just like God is not the cause of the unloving nature of those you hope would or should love you.

    Is it God making the choices of these people?

    Of course I know you know the answer to that. It is hard when our own hurt us. That is the worst. Lamenting and mourning is appropriate. That is not the same as bitterness. Hold on! Stay on the right path and you can see the right fruit.

  22. “For some reason, it is so difficult for me to believe God loves me when people that should love me don’t.”
    That is one of the central questions all people have. Think about it. If you or I was born in a different continent, we may not have made it past preschool due to poverty. Can God be good and loving when the world is the way it is? God is not the cause of evil just like God is not the cause of the unloving nature of those you hope would or should love you.
    Is it God making the choices of these people?
    Of course I know you know the answer to that. It is hard when our own hurt us. That is the worst. Lamenting and mourning is appropriate. That is not the same as bitterness. Hold on! Stay on the right path and you can see the right fruit.

  23. “For some reason, it is so difficult for me to believe God loves me when people that should love me don’t.”
    That is one of the central questions all people have. Think about it. If you or I was born in a different continent, we may not have made it past preschool due to poverty. Can God be good and loving when the world is the way it is? God is not the cause of evil just like God is not the cause of the unloving nature of those you hope would or should love you.

    Is it God making the choices of these people?

    Of course I know you know the answer to that. It is hard when our own hurt us. That is the worst. Lamenting and mourning is appropriate. That is not the same as bitterness. Hold on! Stay on the right path and you can see the right fruit.

  24. “For some reason, it is so difficult for me to believe God loves me when people that should love me don’t.”
    That is one of the central questions all people have. Think about it. If you or I was born in a different continent, we may not have made it past preschool due to poverty. Can God be good and loving when the world is the way it is? God is not the cause of evil just like God is not the cause of the unloving nature of those you hope would or should love you.

    Is it God making the choices of these people?

    Of course I know you know the answer to that. It is hard when our own hurt us. That is the worst. Lamenting and mourning is appropriate. That is not the same as bitterness. Hold on! Stay on the right path and you can see the right fruit.

  25. “For some reason, it is so difficult for me to believe God loves me when people that should love me don’t.”
    That is one of the central questions all people have. Think about it. If you or I was born in a different continent, we may not have made it past preschool due to poverty. Can God be good and loving when the world is the way it is? God is not the cause of evil just like God is not the cause of the unloving nature of those you hope would or should love you.

    Is it God making the choices of these people?

    Of course I know you know the answer to that. It is hard when our own hurt us. That is the worst. Lamenting and mourning is appropriate. That is not the same as bitterness. Hold on! Stay on the right path and you can see the right fruit.

  26. Thanks Rich! My morning drives with my son are also cherished. But, our roadblock is getting him to school! I wish my son would be worried about being tardy! We’re going through somewhat of a struggle with him right now in regards to school, so most mornings I’m just glad we’re in the car together on the way to school and not at home dealing with going to school or not. His poor choices are starting to add up. He’s still in the stage of not owning up to the choices as well.
    But, I really appreciated your post! Thanks for the reminder.

  27. Thanks Rich! My morning drives with my son are also cherished. But, our roadblock is getting him to school! I wish my son would be worried about being tardy! We’re going through somewhat of a struggle with him right now in regards to school, so most mornings I’m just glad we’re in the car together on the way to school and not at home dealing with going to school or not. His poor choices are starting to add up. He’s still in the stage of not owning up to the choices as well.
    But, I really appreciated your post! Thanks for the reminder.

  28. Thanks Rich! My morning drives with my son are also cherished. But, our roadblock is getting him to school! I wish my son would be worried about being tardy! We’re going through somewhat of a struggle with him right now in regards to school, so most mornings I’m just glad we’re in the car together on the way to school and not at home dealing with going to school or not. His poor choices are starting to add up. He’s still in the stage of not owning up to the choices as well.
    But, I really appreciated your post! Thanks for the reminder.

  29. Thanks Rich! My morning drives with my son are also cherished. But, our roadblock is getting him to school! I wish my son would be worried about being tardy! We’re going through somewhat of a struggle with him right now in regards to school, so most mornings I’m just glad we’re in the car together on the way to school and not at home dealing with going to school or not. His poor choices are starting to add up. He’s still in the stage of not owning up to the choices as well.
    But, I really appreciated your post! Thanks for the reminder.

  30. Thanks Rich! My morning drives with my son are also cherished. But, our roadblock is getting him to school! I wish my son would be worried about being tardy! We’re going through somewhat of a struggle with him right now in regards to school, so most mornings I’m just glad we’re in the car together on the way to school and not at home dealing with going to school or not. His poor choices are starting to add up. He’s still in the stage of not owning up to the choices as well.
    But, I really appreciated your post! Thanks for the reminder.

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