Trust and the Traffic Signal

Lest you think I have mad photoshop skills, let me stop you right there. This traffic signal exists at an intersection here in Cochabamba. As a matter of fact this is not the only confused light in town. I guess I should just be glad that we actually have traffic lights at all, right?

Isn’t life like this sometimes? You’d like to think you can trust the ‘rules’. You’d like to think that those around you are following the predetermined governance, too. That way everything is nice, neat, and easy.

As the first in the lane of traffic at this light I had seconds to assess and respond. When the little green straight ahead arrow popped up to join the blaring red dot on the top and they decided to hang out for a while, I had to act. If I stayed put: honking would ensue. If I moved forward, without checking the movement of the surrounding cars, I might have some unpleasant detailing on the side of my truck. What to do? What to do?

So often we find ourselves at crossroads. Might be in our relationships. Possibly in our career or education. Choices bombard us. The choosing becomes tricky when systems we could previously trust  don’t seem to be helping us out.

After we had been in Bolivia for about a year a dear friend from the States came to visit us. On a walk one day she asked me, “How long do you think you will stay in Bolivia?” She was, and still is, not only my friend but a wise advice giver. She’s like the older sister I never had.

I answered, “We thought about seven years.”

She gave me a sagacious nod. Then she said something along the lines of, “You know sometimes decisions are not about  ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Sometimes God lets us decide.”

Over the years I have added to that thought. Sometimes God lets us decide and is just happy to join us on the adventure of experiencing and enjoying life.

My actions in front of that traffic light were not a decision based on ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. I simply had to decide what to do. If I was so concerned about the morality of the matter then I could give myself a logical pep talk that any decision I make is the morally correct one since both options exist. The guilt and anxiety associated with potentially making a mistake disappears in this case.

So what did I do? Go? Wait? What?

I took a picture.

Did you even know I had that option? Well, I did. The car in the lane next to me went straight. The car behind me didn’t seem to notice because nobody honked. I just snapped my picture, took a good look around, and eased off the clutch adding a bit of gas as I rolled away shaking my head. It all worked out.

Maybe you are facing a tough decision today and are stuck peering at a unhelpful traffic light. Might I encourage you today? Make a decision. Do you love God? Do you love people? Then it’s all going to work out. Trust me.


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