Stop signs don’t turn green.
About two years ago I was diagnosed with an L4/L5 herniated disc and encouraged to have surgery. We decided to wait and pray. Not instantly, but within several weeks, I was free from chronic pain and able to avoid this route. I believe that God healed me during that time of waiting and praying. Since then there are times when I do something stupid (lifting too much) or simple (sweeping) that I find myself in pain once again.
So I signed up for a fitness boot camp with the goal of strengthening my core and back in an attempt to avoid these flare ups.
A couple of weeks ago after a particularly difficult day of working out, I lifted my noodle legs into the car, backed out of the parking spot and headed home, probably in search of Advil.
Within a few minutes, I realized that my vehicle (the one I was driving)
had been sitting still for…
I couldn’t tell you how long I had been there
but I realized that I was sitting
at a stop sign waiting for it to turn green.
(In my defense, there was a stop LIGHT up ahead, but I wasn’t to that intersection yet.)
My exhaustion and hurting body had so consumed me that I had just
and apparently stopped thinking.
I was stopped
but I should have been going.
Thankfully, there wasn’t an audience for this driving faux pas, at least I don’t think there was (clearly I wasn’t operating at full capacity; maybe there was and I wasn’t aware of it; could be possible). I shook my head and pressed the gas pedal to continue my trip.
It was later, when I arrived home and no longer needed all my faculties to simply operate a moving vehicle, that God spoke these words to me:
Don’t sit at a stop sign when you have the authority to go.
Immediately I thought of Matthew 28:18–20:
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Right before this verse, you see that the disciples had proceeded to the mountain that Jesus had designated. They saw Him once they arrived.
Can you imagine?
All of their hopes and future were based on the life of this Man who was no longer physically with them. They were faced with the prospect of going forward without Him. They had a choice to make.
They could have stopped.
Instead they put one foot in front of another and walked to the mountain He had designated.
Surely they wondered if they heard correctly.
Was this really where He said to go?
But they went.
And He met them there.
And commissioned them to the greatest adventure they would ever know.
We’ve been given permission to go. Check that. We’ve been instructed by Jesus to go. You and I don’t need anyone else’s permission to go.
It’s like sitting at a stop sign waiting for it to turn green.
I don’t know what might be keeping you from going. For all I know, you are going with all you’ve got. I love seeing people who are going.
So since I am the one who was stopped when I should have been going, here’s what keeps me stopped:
Going is scary.
I worry that I am going the wrong direction.
I stop because I get hurt. Going forward opens me up for that…again.
I stop sometimes because I am tired. Like the deep down in your bones, cannot put one foot in front of another, worked out for the first time in ten years, tired.
Except it’s a spiritual tired of fighting the fight Paul talks of — the good fight — and instead longing just to sit this one (and all of them) out.
And I believe God says stopping is good. We need rest. We need healing. I need those things. But once we’ve stopped and rested and been healed, it’s time to go again.
For all my worry about going the wrong direction, I don’t go any direction. I think sometimes in the going we figure out the right direction, trusting the Holy Spirit to guide our steps. But if I’m not taking any steps, what good is that?
My heart breaks for those of us who have been given promises from God;
gifts from Him to share with His people
and we are sitting at a stop sign waiting for it to turn green.
Waiting for someone to affirm us or accept us or tell us we are doing the right thing.
And those aren’t bad. I need those things.
I need the encouragement of godly people who can give me correction and confirmation.
But if I am sitting still, not doing anything, what is there to correct or confirm?
You and I have been given permission instruction to go.
Do the thing in your heart that you know is from God.
Maybe your going is a mission trip.
Maybe it’s extending some encouragement to your child’s teacher.
Maybe it’s taking the time to show grace and love to someone who is hurting.
Are we going to get it 100% correct 100% of the time?
I’m pretty sure that I won’t.
But I pray the Holy Spirit is going to guide us and direct us.
Let’s quit sitting at stop signs waiting for them to turn green.
Have you been sitting at a stop sign, too?
What does your go look like?