When The Impassable Meets the Immovable

by Tom Wacaster

I have often commented on the illogical and unreasonable driving habits of those who live in many of the Asian and Far East parts of the world. I think I have shared with you one incident last year that demonstrates the thinking (if we can call it that) of motorists here. On this particular occasion the main road was under some kind of construction causing it to be closed and the traffic diverted another way. In this case, the regular route was a rather wide street, able to accommodate three or four lanes of cars in either direction. But the diversion took all of that traffic down a back road barely large enough to accommodate two cars, much less a large bus heading one direction, and a semi truck headed the other. Of course when the two met each one had to hug their side of the road, and with the help of those in the neighborhood who were anxious to get this traffic past their house, this huge bus and semi began the arduous task of getting by one another, the truck hugging the curb on one side, the bus taking up all of the available space on the other. There was not enough room to pass the proverbial “two by four.” Of course, once the traffic comes to a crawl those who are on motorcycles always go around the cars that are backing up in search of some kind of space they can squeeze through. In this case, there was none. So the motorcycles pile up in front of the bus coming at us, and no doubt the situation was the same on the other side of the truck we were behind. And then began the honking of horns. I have concluded that folks in India think that the horn has some miraculous ability to alleviate traffic jams and move traffic forward at an accelerated pace. One of the things missionaries sometime comment on upon returning from a culture where drivers honk their horns so much is the amazing “silence” on our freeways; even when back logged in heavy traffic. As it turned out, this situation to which I refer here took at least an hour to resolve; something that could have been taken care of in less than a few minutes if the motor cycles had just stayed in line behind the cars. But then, that just doesn’t happen here in India.

Similar traffic jams occur almost every time I travel to India. Bangalore is a city of several million citizens. It is also a sprawling city of some significant distance. The hotel in which we stayed while doing the work here lays claim to being situated in the center of town with easy access to various points of interest, and relatively “close” to the airport. The brochure at St. Mark’s Hotel has some of the more vital information, and that print out says it is 48 Kilometers to the airport. That is about 30 miles, if my calculations are correct. If it is the case that the hotel is centrally located, then the city stretches at least the same distance in the opposite direction, giving the city a width of more than 60 miles. That is about the same distance from Lake Rockwall in east Dallas Country to the western side of Fort Worth. There are no roads we would call “freeways,” and like many large cities here in India boarders on the intolerable. The driving habits of the drivers exacerbates the problem of an overabundance of automobiles. So, it is inevitable that from time to time you will come across a situation much like that mentioned above.

We were on our way to the evening services Saturday night, a drive of approximately 6 miles, if I calculated it right. A bus had pulled out into the traffic in an attempt to maneuver across the traffic and make a right-hand turn (it would be like us trying to cross traffic and make a left-hand turn, seeing they drive on the opposite side of the road here). He managed to get out enough to block the traffic coming from his left, but not enough to merge into the traffic on the other side. Any expectation of motorists demonstrating any kind of courtesy and let the bus in is what we call in Texas, “a pipe dream.” So there the bus sat. On the other side of the road were motorists wanting to make a right turn, their path now being blocked by the bus. So, the traffic backed up. Then came the honking, the motorcycles, etc. In fact, the drivers on motorcycles were actually driving up on the sidewalk to get around the back log of cars. I turned to Nehemiah and I said, “this is a classic case where the impassable meets the immovable.”

The Bible also has various records of cases where the impassable meets the immovable. Take Pharaoh for example, When Moses came to the Egyptian king and demanded that he let Israel go, the king simply responded, “I do not know your God, neither will I let your people go.” That is where the impassable (Pharaoh) met the immovable (God). God would prove to Pharaoh, however, that although the king’s impassable will would not yield to the demands of the Almighty, the immovable God would not give way to Pharaoh’s hardened heart, and it would be the later who would lose the battle. After ten miracles the king of Egypt was convinced it best to give way to God, and he literally drove the Israelites from Egypt. But Pharaoh’s stubborn will would relent and make on last attempt to fight God, only to lose his entire army in the waters of the Red Sea.

Korah was another example of someone who thought he could fight God. He accused Moses of taking too much authority upon himself, only to have the earth swallow him and his followers up in a demonstration from the Almighty that it is He, and He alone, who is immovable.

We could add a long list of rebels, both from the Old and New Testaments. Sacred history is littered with the corps of those who thought they could fight God: Haaman, Nadab and Abihu, Ahab, Jezebel, Judas, king Herod, to name but a few. All of them soon learned that any attempt to fight God is futile and feeble.

Some years ago, I heard a speaker at FHU give a lesson entitled, “Boxing with God.” I cannot now recall the text he used, nor the points he made, but the title of his lesson made an impression on my mind, and I have often thought I would develop a lesson on that same topic, something I have not yet done. That “sermon seed” has been filed away in my files like hundreds, if not thousands of sermon seeds awaiting further development.

When the impassable meets the immovable on the streets of Bangalore, one can expect that eventually, the snarled traffic will be unsnarled, and that motorists will go on their way and soon forget the traffic jam that may have temporarily upset their schedule or strained their nerves. But when men fight with God and their impassable hearts refuse to give way to the demands of God, they soon learn that God is immovable. Those who “box with God” cannot win. Tragically, the lesson is not learned until it is too late.

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