Red Light, Green Light!

Did you play “Red Light, Green Light” when you were a child? It was a simple stop-and-go game where one person was IT—the traffic light. The rest of the players stood in a line facing IT while she turned her back a good distance away and called out, “Green light!”

The players then ran as fast as they could—the object being to tag IT before she called out, “Red light!” At this point the players on the move were to freeze—as in don’t move an inch.

If you so much as wiggled, you had to return to the starting line, and IT began the process all over. The game continued until a player tagged the traffic light. Now that player became IT.

Driving in traffic this morning I thought of that game. I had smooth sailing to and from my destination. I hit every green light, and I saw few cars on the road. It contrasted starkly from yesterday with its bumper to bumper traffic, when I’m pretty sure that the little elf who surely lives inside that “green light” must have been asleep on the job!

What makes the difference from one day to the next? It’s a Friday, so lots of workers have the day off? Maybe. But then why was last Friday bumper to bumper? And do the traffic lights know what day of the week it is?

In “real life” I sometimes find myself in the smooth sailing lane. The new salmon recipe I tried was mouthwatering; my checkbook balanced (thanks to Quicken); and that issue I’d been praying about got resolved BIG TIME—far beyond what I had asked or thought.

Other times, things are not so smooth. The long line at the post office means I have to wait. One clerk at the bank tries to serve all of us, and I have to wait. The landscaper doesn’t show up this week to mow, and the grass will have to wait.

I’m reasonably calm and cool when in traffic. I figure waiting is part of it and my impatience won’t change a thing. But in “real life”… not so much. What takes so long for God to step in? Did he not hear when I sent out my urgent plea? Red light… red light… red light.

Suddenly I notice a change. Green light… green light… green light! It’s the way of life, and God designed it that way for a reason. No need to fret about it. I haven’t seen one light turn green until it was good and ready to do so. Experience tells me that the Lord has our stops and goes calibrated perfectly.

Red lights protect us from dangerous intersections. They also give the oncoming driver a chance at smooth sailing. So, red lights act as crucial protections, and maybe they’re not always about me. If I look at it from another perspective, my red lights become your green lights.

This whole city traffic dilemma reminds me to pay closer attention to how many times the Lord protects me and says, “Stop.” At other times he gives me freedom to “go.” Both have their place, don’t they?

I’d love to hear how God protected you with a “red light” that he placed in your life, or what wondrous things God did when he gave you the “go” signal.

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord,” Psalm 27:14.

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