Several of our folks were late for worship this past Sunday because of a shutdown of Interstate 65 in the Alabaster area for construction. Others were so late they gave up and didn’t make it at all. For those who did make it, there was a noted spike in blood pressure and stress levels. Road construction and the traffic that goes with it has a way of doing that.
Driving on the interstate in the Birmingham and Shelby County areas has never been fun, but these days the challenges are everywhere from constant construction. The much talked about closure of the I-20/59 bridge in Birmingham for what will end up being more than a year has created plenty of headaches for those who work in or travel through downtown. And of course we’ve been battling our own issues for a while in Shelby County as I-65 is expanded from Pelham to Alabaster. We won’t even mention the delays on the Hwy. 31 bridge across I-65 at the exit in Calera.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but let me remind you that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. The snow birds will soon be descending from up north, making their way to the beach for spring break, creating traffic logjams that will back up I-65 and Hwy. 31 north and south for several weekends straight. It’s bad every year, but this year with the construction issues in Alabaster it will likely be even worse.
I guess you can’t have progress without construction, though the detours and delays do bring their share of frustration. One day soon, they will finish those projects and we’ll have more lanes to work with, which should actually decrease our traffic problems and lower our stress levels each day. But in the mean time, our roads are a mess.
Which is a pretty good picture of each of our lives walking with the Lord. You can’t have progress without construction, but often that is messy. And really, on this side of heaven, we will always be a work in progress. At least I hope we will.
When Ruth Graham, the wife of evangelist Billy Graham, died in 2007, she chose to have engraved on her gravestone words that had nothing to do with the remarkable achievements of her life. The short, quaint epitaph was a brief message she wanted to share with those who knew her and all who would see her grave.
The idea came to her when she was driving one day along a highway through a construction site, not unlike those near us, where there were miles of detours and caution signs and machinery and equipment. She finally came to the final sign, which read: “End of construction. Thank you for your patience.”
And that is what is written over Ruth Graham’s grave: “End of construction. Thank you for your patience.”
Here’s hoping the signs of your life reveal that God is still at work in you, making you more like Christ every day, no matter how long you have walked with Him. None of us have arrived, and by His grace we are all still “under construction.”
I’m grateful to be on this busy, crazy, messy road with all of you. I’m praying for you, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.