How do you feel when you are driving along a single carriageway road and someone in front of you is driving way below the speed limit and slower than is necessary in the prevailing weather conditions?
It is one of the things I find irritating when I am driving (but am praying for patience to grow). I can understand it if there is a vehicle like a tractor at the front of the queue of traffic that is unable to go above a certain speed. Indeed there’s something almost comical about the tractor driver trying to urge every last mile per hour out of his powerful vehicle that probably has more horsepower than any of the cars behind it but has gearing designed for off-road driving not on-road.
That’s not what am talking about here. What I find difficult is when a car that is perfectly capable of reaching the speed limit for that road is being driven much slower than necessary. And because of the layout of the road (or the roadmarkings) nobody is able to overtake them. They acquire a queue of traffic behind them that is forced to drive at the speed of the car at the front. There’s one road in Colchester that seems to attract these drivers. It’s a road with national speed limit signs at the start (aka 60mph) but many drivers seem to think that the speed limit is 40mph.
In those circumstances, to try to calm myself down, I try to think of reasons why they are driving so slowly. Perhaps their car is in ‘limp home mode’ and is electronically restricted to a reduced speed in order to protect a sick engine. Maybe the driver has only recently passed their driving test and is still a bit anxious. Perhaps the car is a pedal car and the driver is pedalling as fast as they can…
Whatever the real reason, it does mean that everyone else is reduced to travelling at the speed of the car at the front.
Sometimes travelling at the speed of the slowest person is not such a bad thing. In collective decision-making it is often good to try to move gently enough for everyone to understand and be ‘up to speed’. If you are walking in a group it is best to travel at the speed of the slowest person so that nobody is left behind.
And I am grateful that Jesus walks with me on the journey of life at my pace. He doesn’t race on ahead or hang behind. He paces himself perfectly to walk with me.
I have commented before that perhaps my favourite passage in the Bible is Luke 24, where Jesus walks alongside a couple of his friends after his crucifixion and resurrection. For the whole journey they did not recognise him but he walked at their pace and taught at their pace. It’s a brilliant narrative.
Through whom is he accompanying you today? Or who is he accompanying through you?
And I will seek to be more patient behind the wheel of my car (especially as I will spend a lot more time there in my new role!).
Be blessed, be a blessing.