Quick Listening and Slow Bus Rides

anger-cartoonIt's not really surprising to those of you who are familiar with Calgary Handi-bus that while waiting for my pick up last Friday I became quit anxious after half an hour past the scheduled pick up time. You know the feeling where your sitting at the counter with your jacket on, your ticket in hand, and the residing lyric of the automated phone voice saying, "please be ready at..." rolling through your head. I was ready to be quit blunt when the driver arrived. Still, I thought I would take the opportunity to read over the passage which I planned on speaking about that weekend.

"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." - James 1:19

Perhaps it is just me but, at times it seems like I am extremely slow at picking up what it is God is trying to say to me. So looking back it seems ironic that in these moments of anxiety I began asking God what I could use as an illustration for this passage. How could I possibly give a relevant meaning to what James was talking about here without it being some sort of traditional monologue? I read it again.

Feeling as though I had waited long enough for my bus I decided to phone the dispatcher and haggle them about how much longer would they be. While waiting on hold the driver knocked on my door. I answered it and after locking the door behind me I very quietly, so as to communicate my frustration, proceeded to the bus and prepared for us to leave.

Now, upon entering the bus it became very apparent that I was not the only passenger aboard. Sitting in the seat to the right of me was a scruffy young man who every four or five seconds would let out a screeching four letter word while clapping his hands in exclamation to the point that he was not happy about being so delayed.

"This is FS#%F&" ridicules."

"Come on! Let's GB@!%$ GO!!!"

I sat there for the next twenty minutes as this young man belligerently belittled and tormented the driver with insults, bad language, and disrespect. I was torn. I felt bad for the driver; horrible for what would cause this young man to act this way; and yes, stupid that I could not see God speaking to me earlier with regards to my own attitude and the way in which he wanted me to be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

We soon found the young mans home and after dropping him off I quickly started up a conversation with the driver. He told me that he and his family had just moved to Canada from Ethiopia three years ago and he was just learning the roads around Calgary. Dropping me off at my destination I told him I would pray for him in the hopes he might have a better night along with a good weekend. He smiled as he said, "It was already uplifting having you talk with me so kindly. Thank you."

Yes Father, I understand and see. Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger and in that, we can find your righteousness and your presence.