God stops for me

God really took my Lenten commitment seriously when I chose to fast from being fast. This originally meant not getting too impatient about seeing immediate results in my life, and slowing down my pace of life.

Mar 25, 2022

By Nicholas Lye

God really took my Lenten commitment seriously when I chose to fast from being fast. This originally meant not getting too impatient about seeing immediate results in my life, and slowing down my pace of life. Never did I expect for God to bring my life to a complete STOP – when my car broke down in the middle of the road.

It was like being left stranded in the wilderness, save for the angry honks from cars that assumed I deliberately love stopping in the middle of the road just to block their way. Yet hard as I prayed, my car would not move.

When I finally accepted my predicament and decided to call in the tow truck, I rang the supposed 24-hour hotline for what seemed like hours, yet nobody picked up. I was getting so frustrated and annoyed with each additional ring, expecting someone to pick up the phone immediately since this was meant to be a 24-hour hotline.

Half an hour later, someone finally picked up the call, and I was informed that it would take at least an hour for the tow truck to arrive. By that time, I had exhausted my annoyance, and somehow began to sense this as God’s way of drawing me into the wilderness for deeper spiritual reflection.

As it was evening time, I decided to step out of the car for some fresh air. Unexpectedly, I caught sight of the fiery crimson sky lit up by the setting sun. I was half in awe of that stunning sight, and half amused that God would literally stop my car for me to witness such a sight. But I also knew He was reminding me of the many other amazing moments I would miss if I did not learn to slow down, or even stop to take in what was already before me, instead of rushing ahead and chasing the results I thought I wanted.

With the cool evening breeze brushing against my face, I began to also reflect on how impatient I had been with the person behind the 24-hour hotline. He might have been in the middle of dinner, or had his own emergency to deal with.

Nonetheless, I started to appreciate him more, for the stressful job of managing a 24-hour hotline. I also began to appreciate the tow truck driver who was expected to drop everything to respond to a rescue call, and was perhaps doing his best to get to me as soon as he could.

Without my realising it, God was showing me that almsgiving can also be about appreciating someone for their service to me, and being understanding of their challenges and sacrifices. I was also learning that prayer does not always mean getting what I want, but allowing God to change and transform me in the way that He was doing that very evening. In some ways, I was also grateful that God honoured my fast from being fast, and taught me in such a vivid way what it means to slow down, or even to STOP.

But the greatest revelation came when I eventually noticed this tree right behind me. It immediately reminded me of the story of Zacchaeus who climbed up a tree to see Jesus, and I, looking up from what might have been from Jesus’ perspective, suddenly realised that Jesus STOPPED for Zacchaeus. Jesus could have simply gone on His way for more important things, but He literally stopped in His tracks to meet Zacchaeus, and even invited Himself to his house.

It then dawned upon me: God STOPS for me too! Even when I am slow at learning from my mistakes, slow at trusting in His purpose and timing, slow at understanding or being open to His greater plans for me, God does not impatiently rush off ahead of me in annoyance or frustration. Instead, He patiently STOPS for me, meeting me where I am, and stays with me, until I am ready to go and grow.

I realised at that moment that I was not the only one fasting from being fast. Jesus Himself does not demand immediate results from me, but waits patiently for me to grow, to mature, to correct my mistakes, to better my actions, and be more of who I am meant to be. And no matter how many times God calls me and I fail to answer, He does not get the least bit annoyed or frustrated. He simply keeps calling, until I finally respond. He keeps waiting, until I am ready to move.

When the tow truck finally pulled up, I saw Christ coming out of that vehicle, and offering to pick me up from where I was left stranded in my wilderness. I was really touched by this very visual reminder of God’s love for me, and what it truly means to encounter Him in the wilderness of Lent. In that moment, I was grateful that my car had STOPPED, and that God STOPPED for me.

(Nicholas Lye loves finding God in all things, even car breakdowns. He also loves exploring fresh and creative ways to connect with God in prayer. Check out his various offerings at www.tinyurl.com/prayerthroughart.)

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