On a recent early morning taxi ride in East Asia, a fellow worker and I met one of the most carefree (for lack of a better word) taxi drivers we’ve ever had. Again and again, he found ways to make traffic signals simply “disappear.” He wasn’t content with just ignoring them… not one bit. One of his slick and slightly terrifying tricks was to make a sharp right turn when he got to a red light, do a quick u-turn in the middle of the road, and then turn right back onto our original road.
My co-worker and I nervously chuckled as we finally, and safely, arrived. He must have heard us because he too let out a laugh and admitted, “I didn’t stop for a single red light!” Then he explained, “Actually, red lights and I have an understanding. I don’t pay attention to them, and they don’t bother me!”
A good laugh helped dissolve the tension built up from our ride. Living in a culture where laws are taken so lightly can be aggravating. Yet, I always try to check my tendency to be self-righteous. Not all law breakers have had good parents. Some have gotten themselves into bad financial straits and red lights seem bad for business. Others are just having bad days. In any case, all of us are born law breakers. I may stop for red lights, but in my heart sometimes I wish I didn’t have to.
God called us to this country. We know many who don’t acknowledge their Maker or their responsibility to Him. They ignore the signals God has placed in their lives. Others act like our driver – they think they have an understanding with God. “I don’t bother Him, and he doesn’t bother me.” They keep him at a distance.
Yet the God we know sees all the red lights that we ignore. He knows all the times we have disregarded other red lights in our lives: unchecked anger, unbridled lust, unlimited selfishness. I am no different than my carefree driver, except that Jesus found me. Jesus gave me a new heart. And, along with that came a new set of eyes that are no longer color blind.
That day our driver was taking us to a meeting with our co-workers. We discussed plans on how to get this life-changing message out to more people in this part of the world. As we listened to each other, we rejoiced to see how the Holy Spirit is working. Small groups of people are gathering around the life-giving Word in more and more cities. The Holy Spirit is opening eyes once blind to the truth. People’s hearts are being sensitized. Jesus’ light is shining with good news of forgiveness and new life. With God’s help, red lights are becoming green lights which shout out “Go! Go with the good news!”
We’re not here to change driving habits. We weren’t sent to “civilize” the country. But, one by one, the Gospel is doing amazing things. It is changing lives. Jesus has given us the green light to serve others.
So, it’s time to get on the road.
The light is green! Go!
By: A missionary in East Asia
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