Have you ever been stuck behind a truck in the middle of rush-hour traffic? The sight of a dirty truck, loaded down with an assortment of rusty metal objects and black, oil-laced fumes pouring out the exhaust pipe, is fairly common across Africa. To be caught behind one in a traffic jam is no one’s idea of pleasure.
I happened to overhear two drivers discussing this very situation. The first driver asserted that whenever he found himself caught behind one, he would make every attempt to get out of the predicament, even riskily weaving through packed traffic lanes to get away.
But the second driver had a very different outlook. He said that whenever he happened to find himself behind one of those trucks, he would roll up his windows and stay put behind the mammoth in front of him. Experience, he said, taught him that when the light at the intersection hit green and the chorus of horns and jostling of vehicles erupted, the massive truck would sound out its loud, penetrating horn and forge its way through the traffic, its size and speed charting a path through the confusion. All the second driver had to do was stick close behind it and follow.
I realize that I often view problems in my life like that awful truck in front of me, blocking my view and polluting my atmosphere. I’m in the middle of a traffic jam of daily problems, and now this monster shows up to add to the confusion. But I’m learning to appreciate the perspective of the second driver.
While each of us knows that being stuck with a problem is annoying, unpleasant, and sometimes downright frustrating, it may be that very difficulty which will end up charting a new path for you and helping propel you faster down the road of life.
That’s what Romans 5:3 says: “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient.”1
And, by the way, the road of life is never jammed forever. God always opens an opportunity to overtake that problem truck in our lives, once it has served its purpose in helping us through the traffic battles of life!