I’m notorious at my church for car troubles.
In two separate cases over the years, I’ve experienced car troubles that forced me to drive markedly slower than the speed limit. First it was a trouble where the engine would stay reasonably cool as long as I stayed under about 55 MPH. The other instance was a weird transmission problem – if I slowed down from fourth gear, there would be a noticeable bump and my car would refuse to get back up into fourth gear. Meaning I could not travel over about 55 MPH for fear of over-rpm’ing. (I’m not a car person.)
No doubt this caused consternation for drivers behind me, especially on Montana’s many one-lane highways. Keep in mind that this is the state of “Reasonable and Prudent” fame. I can guess what was going through their minds as they stared endlessly at my tailpipe.
Probably the same thing going through my mind when I’m stuck behind an elderly person nervously counting out change in the express lane.
Or when someone at church doesn’t respond in time for a project because their family life is chaos.
Or when that student disrupted class because he was terrified of getting problems wrong and didn’t know how to admit it.
Or any number of other times when I’m inconvenienced.
“Be kind. Everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden.” – John Watson
If we could only see what God alone sees.
Never am I more aware of this than when I’m the one inconveniencing with my burden. Now I know the patience with which I hope others treat me. I wonder how our hearts would change if we could see everyone’s burdens, like thought bubbles persisting over their heads.
John Piper recently skewered me when he asked, “When you are full to the brim, you will spill when bumped. What do people feel, acid or grace?”
I know my honest answer. On too many days I’m just keeping my mouth shut, or else I’m a beaker full of death.
But the greater tragedy is – I’m so easily bumped to begin with. Why is that? What is this unholy ledger that awakens within me when I’m blocked even temporarily from a goal? Like most adults, I hide a lot of it. But we all have areas where we’re more easily bumped than others.
I guess, in order to love, we need to be built on a solid foundation.
Lord, help us get over ourselves. Be our everything. Be our foundation, so we are not easily bumped. Fill us to the brim with your grace for the moments we’re bumped. May your Gospel shine through in our patience and kindness.