I remember my first time with rush hour traffic in Dallas, TX. It was driving a large box truck (for the first time) with about $100,000 worth of lighting equipment in the back…late, because the light rental place had overbooked a spotlight, and I had to wait for another one to get in. It was a nightmare.
I’ve always hated crazy traffic. I’ll even take a little longer to get somewhere on a drive if the drive is more peaceful. I remember when I lived in a larger city, I would try to avoid the interstates and big highways around rush hour. Even if I had to drive a longer distance, not being pressed on all sides, inching forward in frustrating traffic, riding the brake and trying not to bump the person in front of me.
We all want a life free from stress and pain. Most of our lives, we spend a lot of energy trying to avoid or lessen those things. We plan ahead, avoid conflict, receive medical treatment, and attempt to reduce the risk in our lives. If we are into extreme sports or thrill-seeking, we prefer the risk on our own terms, not having it thrust indiscriminately upon us.
Stress can steal our joy and we usually equate stress with the things that come against us or the conflict within us. Recently, I heard a pastor say that happiness really is peace…peace with ourselves, peace with others, and most importantly, peace with God. In the New Testament, Jesus gave a famous sermon called the Beatitudes, and in that sermon. Blessed are ____ and blessed are _____, and all of the groups he mentioned are the things that we usually equate with destroying our peace, our happiness.
How can all the things we think that cause us unhappiness be a blessing in which we can experience peace and happiness? Because happiness has very little to do with what is around us, or what is naturally within us, but everyone to do with who we follow. Happiness is more about WHO we know that WHAT we are or WHAT comes against us. That’s how Paul said that he could be content in any circumstance, good or bad. It’s because all the things that we think make up our lives — breathing, thinking, acting, relating — all of those things are just existence, and the “life” — the reason, the satisfaction, the purpose, the peace — those come through Jesus, who, as Paul wrote plainly, “is our life”.
When we live our lives for the pleasure of, under the direction of, and with the confidence in the Savior who gave all for us, we realize that we don’t have to be enough, because He is. We don’t have to have enough, because He does. We don’t have to know enough, because He does and He is more than capable of everything in our lives…. It makes traffic even not seem like such a hassle either…
Jim Campbell is the lead pastor of Bay West Church, which meets at 1000 Emerson Drive in Palm Bay Florida on Sundays at 11am. For more information on Bay West Church, Like on Facebook.com/baywestchurch, or see baywestchurch.com.