I was on my way to meet some friends for lunch and already running late. Seeing the flashing sign on the highway did not make me happy. Expect delays. Construction ahead. Haarrummph. Sure enough, the vehicles ahead of me started to brake. I slowed down with the rest of them and slid into the long line that was almost at a standstill. Then I noticed my hands were gripping the steering wheel rather tightly.
I took a deep breath and told myself to relax. Then I remembered commenting to my husband that it was about time this stretch of road was repaired. I sighed. The work was necessary for everyone's safety and there was no other way to do it than to make the traffic slow down and take a bit of a detour. Causing my blood pressure to hit the roof would not change anything. My friends would wait for me. I sat back and turned on a favourite CD.
Road blocks, whether on a physical highway or in our lives, are not easy to deal with. We have people to see, things to accomplish - delays look like nothing more than something that will add stress to our days. But, as a friend recently reminded me, they usually have a purpose. Like the construction on that local highway, the work is usually necessary - perhaps essential - to our mental, physical and spiritual well being.
I ran into a few road blocks in my writing career this week. They were frustrating and I admit they did not inspire me to praise. They almost pushed me to rage. I have books to write, books to market, words I know God will use to help and to heal - but the roadblocks keep popping up. Yes, I know God's timing is always perfect but these detours into cancer clinics and other road blocks that are suddenly thrown in my path don't seem to help. But yes, I know they do have a purpose.
Slowing down has its advantages. I'll be able to do more editing on my manuscript, since its publication has been delayed again. I'll have more time to pray about those who need to read it and how I should go about getting it into their hands. I'll have time, in those cancer clinics, to pray for and minister to people whose lives are all too real, all too painful. Perhaps stepping out of the realm of fiction into cold hard reality will give me a different perspective about my writing and about my life. Perhaps these detours and roadblocks are necessary, even essential to the work that God has ahead for me to do.
Perhaps there is no perhaps about it. I just need to "imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised" (Hebrews 6:12).