(This is the kind of road I prefer. No traffic!
Although I don't prefer the 100 foot cliff just to the right of the picture!)
The road conditions were the usual mix of potholes, trash, rocks, and manholes (sometimes covered, sometimes not.) Needless to say, stress levels were raised, especially when I had my two younger children on the scooter with me.
(If vehicles were the only thing we dealt with on the roads, that would be great!)
I made it to the top of the dreaded hill and onto the straight part of the narrow road. I would call it a two lane road, but with some creativity the road can without notice become as much as a five lane road. I chose the center "pretend" lane where motorcycles and scooters flow between the traffic going opposite directions. I was following fairly close to the motorcycle in front of me when the traffic came to a stop. I stopped a few inches behind him and waited. Horns were honking like they always do.
Then it happened. Traffic began once again moving, but the motorcycle in front of me wasn't going anywhere. I wondered what the hold-up was. I tried to be patient. I hate all the honking horns, so I decided not to participate in their noisiness by not honking mine. Then I saw him reach to his side and pull out his cell phone. He was holding up traffic to answer a phone call. My chin hit the floor. I should be use to this kind of thing by now, but the rudeness had compacted the stress I was already dealing with. I had reached my limit. As I found a way to maneuver past him, I yelled out to him, "SERIOUSLY????!!!!!!"
I had refrained from blowing my horn, but instead blew something much more damaging. I blew my lid! As in... my temper. ****Sigh****
I had been told by friends before that living in this country would dig things out of my heart I never realized were there. In the States, I never had a problem with "road rage" or even "road mildly-grumpiness." I could always just go with the flow. I really didn't think it was in me to yell at a driver, especially one who could actually hear me. But I have done it twice now. And both times were followed by conviction from the Lord.
What was He convicting me for? Yelling under a high-stress situation? No. For not preparing myself spiritually before I ever got on that scooter. I already know the high-stress potential is there. It is there everyday and every time I get on that scooter. But I often forget to put on the mind of Christ. I forget to walk in the Spirit, or in this case... drive in the Spirit.
(Two wheelers are everywhere zigzagging between vehicles.)
Have you ever heard of the tea bag illustration? When you put a tea bag in hot water, what's in the tea bag comes out. Yes, God has chosen to put me in these "hot water" situations so that I could see what was truly buried deep in my heart.
Some of you may think that God has called us to this country because we have something great to offer. Um, no. Truthfully, He has called us here because this is where He can make us more like Christ. This is where He can help us through these hot water situations to see the blind spots we have so that He can clean us out. As He does this process, He will use us here for His glory to win souls, plant churches, and to disciple people.
You see, in the States I didn't have to depend on the Lord to help me guard my testimony on the roads. I was quite confident I didn't have a problem, so I didn't need His help. What I didn't realize was that it was because He was protecting me from those hot water situations that I had not lost my temper on the road! And now I am learning to depend on Him in a whole new way.
Do I enjoy these hot water situations? No way! But I have learned to treasure them because I know the Lord is teaching me. He is conforming me to the image of His Son.
So, what is the hot water situation the Lord is putting you through in your field of service? How does the tea taste that is coming from you? Is it bitter tea? Is it smooth and sweet?
James 1:2-4 "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
1 Peter 1:6-9 "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
Charity, Southern Asia