Four Lanes

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble… Psalm 46:1 (NLT)

He occasionally appears at one of my regular lunch spots, first emerging as a speck in my rear view mirror. I make my way through the drive-thru, order up my Number One—no pickles and a half Coke/half Diet Coke—and then make my way over to an adjacent parking lot where I stare at the traffic, eat my lunch, and enjoy the quiet. I watch with amazement as he pumps his way by me in his wheelchair, wheels across the parking lot, and heads toward the busy road.

As this man nears the traffic, an incredible transformation takes place. He looks out at the four lanes of cars racing by, and an expression of determination washes over his face. It’s not a gritting-of-the-teeth resolve but more of a joyful anticipation. I’ve seen him do this numerous times, and he always sports that same cheerful look.

Today I spotted him again, only this time he had additional spectators: two young women in a car not far from mine. With hands cupped over open mouths, they watched him negotiate each lane of traffic as cars rushed by. Will he make it? Can he do it?

When he reached the other side, as he always does, the ladies broke into tearful, joy-filled applause and pumped their firsts in the air in sincere admiration. As I observed them, my heart, too, was filled with joy for my friend’s accomplishment.

I thought to myself how God must cheer for us as we put on our game face and greet the tasks that await us each day. I don’t know if this young man knows Jesus, but there’s certainly something within him that generates a spirit of enthusiastic determination. It reminds me that when I face a daunting challenge, I have Jesus’ help…and so I have reason to smile inside, too.

When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. James 1:2 (NLT)


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