When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realise that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem he has only to ask God—who gives generously to all men without making them feel foolish or guilty—and he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given him. But he must ask in sincere faith without secret doubts as to whether he really wants God’s help or not. The man who trusts God, but with inward reservations, is like a wave of the sea, carried forward by the wind one moment and driven back the next. That sort of man cannot hope to receive anything from God, and the life of a man of divided loyalty will reveal instability at every turn.
- James 1:2-4 (Phillips)
“Ever made a mental list of things that irritate you? Here are a few I’ve got on mine: Traffic jams, Long lines, Misplaced keys, Untrained pets, Stuck zippers, Cold food, Interruptions, Late planes, Tight clothes, Squeaking doors, Incompetence, Flat tires.
“Makes me think of a saying I saw one time on a small wooden plaque; ‘I am planning to have a nervous breakdown. l have earned it. . . l deserve it . . . I have worked hard for it . . . and nobody’s going to keep me from having it!’
“If it weren’t for irritations, we’d be very patient, wouldn’t we? But like taxes, they are ever with us. They comprise the major occupational hazard of being a member of the human race.
“One of these days it should dawn on us that we’ll never be completely free of irritations as long as we are on this planet. Never. Upon coming to this profound conclusion, we would then be wise to consider an alternative to losing our cool. The secret is adjusting.
“Sounds simple. . . but it isn’t. Several things tend to keep us on the edge of irritability. For one thing, we are creatures of habit.”
- Charles R. Swindoll, The Finishing Touch
I am trying to not have a running commentary of all the bad drivers that I face. I have been driving for over 50 years and doing that, and my Dad commented about the bad drivers before that, when drivers weren’t that bad.
My wife says that my running commentary makes her nervous. So, I finally was successful the other day, really too busy dodging the near collision to say anything.
That’s when my wife said, “And the idiot ran us off the road. He must be in a hurry to get to the bar for an early drink or two before lunch.”
Note: Once upon a time years ago, my wife complained to a friend who was with her in the car. My wife complained about all the drivers that pass you on a double-yellow line, in a curve, up a hill, in bad weather. Okay, it wasn’t bad weather that day. Her friend said that had never happened to her and she thought my wife was simply making up stories about the poor drivers in our neighborhood. As soon as she said that, a car zoomed up from behind and passed on a double-yellow line, in a curve, up a hill. My wife’s friend said that he was probably a member of the volunteer fire department or there was some other type of emergency. My wife was getting fed up with her ‘friend’ that disbelieved what my wife was saying, so my wife sped up and followed the guy. They did not have to go far. The guy was going about 20 miles per hour over the posted speed, passing illegally, driving erratically, in order to get to the bar for his favorite beverage, and the bar had just opened.
So, my wife’s appraisal had some history.
I was polite. I said nothing, and I did not laugh either. I was thinking about laughing, since she wanted me to stop doing that so that she would not get nervous, and when I finally succeeded, she provided the commentary.
And we technically only went onto the narrow shoulder and not totally off the road.
Of course, if you look at Rev. Swindoll’s list, they can compound the irritation to exponential levels when a stuck zipper and lost car keys delays your leaving home or you would have missed the traffic jam and due to the traffic jam, you were late to the event, meaning the line was longer. Yes! Yes!! That’s my kind of day at times!!!!
But the Swindoll wooden plaque reminded me of one of my favorite Dr. Demento songs. This one is by Napoleon XIV, They’re Coming to Take Me Away. Listen carefully. His loved one who has left him is not a human. Don’t feel bad. I listened and even sang along many times before I made the connection.
So, when you are in a long line because of a traffic jam after your zipper got stuck, run through the lines of this Dr. Demento song… out loud … while in the line. There could be many results.
- People in front of you in line might let you cut in line, just to not hear what you will sing, or do, next.
- They may know the song and start singing too, thus making the wait seem shorter.
- The nice young men in the clean white coats may really show up and you won’t have to worry about the long line.
- You can do what James said in his letter to consider it Joy that you are being faced with trials, and these particular trials are really not that terrible.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.