The holiness of a four-way stop

It’s rush hour on my usually-quiet suburban street. Well, maybe not rush “hour”, exactly. It’s really only about 15 minutes.

From around 7:10 to 7:25 most every morning during the school year, the street in front of my house is bumper to bumper with high school students trying to get to classes on time.

IMG_3496bfree-largeSchool starts at 7:30 and they’re lined up at the four-way stop, struggling to properly yield the right of way to each other (as they oh-so-recently learned in driver’s ed). Now and then, I hear someone sound their horn over whatever perceived infraction just took place. That usually happens as it gets closer to 7:30 and the possibility of being late becomes more real.

Oh, and sympathies to you if you have to back out of your driveway during that time frame. Taking turns and being nice apparently only applied to kindergarten. I may have muttered about this from time to time over the years…

Interestingly, I’ve found that there’s something positive and even holy about this brief traffic jam in front of my house each morning. It gives me an opportunity to see the individual young faces in those cars and wonder if anyone has prayed for them yet today. Maybe not. (I’m thinking, most likely not.) So lately, I’ve started praying.

I start with the obvious prayers like,

Lord, please keep these young people safe at school today, encourage them to be responsible and make wise choices, protect them from peer pressure, help them learn and grow into good citizens.

Then it goes a little deeper:

Let them know that they have value, surprise them with encouragement today from an unexpected source, give them courage for whatever battle they face, make them sensitive to the pain of the marginalized around them.

Ultimately, and arguably most important, I arrive here:

Let them recognize Your hand on their lives, soften their hearts toward faith, welcome them into a relationship with You.

Even if you don’t live near a high school or have teenagers in your life currently, they’re out there–I see them every day from my living room window–and they could use your prayers. Adolescence is a tumultuous time, you may recall, and this rough world isn’t getting any better any time soon.

For sure, if you have a student at the high school in my town and they drive past my house in the morning, you can know they’re going to get prayed for. Maybe running late and getting stuck in traffic at the four-way stop isn’t the worst thing for them, after all.

And for me, it beats muttering.

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About Diane Rivers

Diane is a native Floridian whose career as an FBI Agent got her transferred to the North. She's retired from that gig now and "repurposed" as a freelance writer, author, and sometimes poet who blogs about the bumpy, bone-jostling ride of her “workaround” life. She loves Jesus, her family, black coffee, kayaking, biking, and hiking, and she looks forward to eternity with the One who will make all things beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

5 thoughts on “The holiness of a four-way stop”

  1. I thought this was just beautiful and so relevant in today’s world. Thank you for always thinking outside yourself.

    1. Glad you enjoyed reading it, Jacque. There are so many reasons to let ourselves get discouraged by the future but our future is right out there in those cars and they need prayer as much as anyone. So I start there.

  2. This is so great! I bet not many people, when encountering teen-agers, think “I wonder if anyone has prayed for them yet today”. And what a lovely, moving prayer you crafted. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I guess I hadn’t seen it as a ministry exactly but now that you point it out, I’m encouraged to think of it that way. There are plenty of “occasions for consternation” in this world (love how you put that); here is one that is literally right outside my window and easy for me to engage. Maybe I can start looking for the seeds of ministry in other places that might otherwise be merely frustrating. Thanks for pointing that out.

Your feedback is welcome!