A Sikh who knows Jesus.
Drunken fools. Promiscuous women. Drug addicts. Vomit. Curses, stolen fairs, lost iphones, and high blood pressure. Welcome to taxi driving for Jesus. Your skin thickens as a taxi driver. It has to. Being an Indian Sikh who follows Jesus makes it quite confusing for the average racist. I incur constant racial abuse from my ‘clients’. I face danger every night, drunks and drug addicts, intoxicated women that would just as soon have me charged if I accepted their flirtatious advances. Constant lost fares from those who lie and do not pay me, then run laughing from my cab. Doing this as God’s child is not for the faint hearted.
Driving a taxi at 3am, I am literally in the darkness. Not only the physical, I enter into the spiritual darkness of those I choose to pick up. Evil is there right beside me. Often tempting me. Tempting me to get angry. Tempting me to lust. Tempting me to take a left behind iphone. Tempting me to break down and give up. Only God keeps me going in such darkness. Remaining holy, remaining virtuous, remaining calm… it is not easy.
First clientele – a pair of drunken boys no more than twenty two. Of Asian descent, they barrage me with racist slurs. I sit dumbfounded as they ask me disgusting questions about my sex life. A torrent of verbal abuse assails me till my blood pressure rises. As a trainee nurse, I know it is my blood pressure I am feeling. The medical knowledge informs me that is exactly what I am experiencing. Anger is literally surging through my veins as my pituitary gland commands adrenalin to be released into my body. My Autonomic nervous system is in fight or flight mode. Amongst this onslaught and chemical transformation…Christ wants me to remain calm and not get angry.
I stop the cab warning them to cease their abuse. I get out and pray. I feel light headed, my blood pressure is so high, they have upset me that much, I literally feel dizzy, and have to steady myself against the cab. I ask God for help. I warn them I am about to lose my temper. Half your clients think you are a Muslim terrorist because your skin is brown. Ironically, sometimes, it works in your favour. They apologise and I take them to their final destination. After thirty minutes of calming down, I head off to the next fare. Praying for mercy.
A drunken man vomits in your cab. He doesn’t tell me. Instead, he leaves it behind as a surprise. This is common, it is far from unusual. It is never welcomed. And cleaning it up doesn’t earn you money. In fact the cleaning products cost more. Other Taxi Drivers demand extra from their clients when they vomit. Humbly, I often accept it rather than losing my temper. I did that before knowing Christ. It was sending me to an early grave. A potential myocardial infarction down the line due to the stress. Not worth the worry. Off to the next fare.
I discover an iphone left in the cab. Everything says keep it. I deserve it. Instead, I return it to the first fare. They thank me, amazed I brought it back to them. The Bible says when your enemy does wrong to you, do good in return. Even Gandhi practiced this. It goes on to say it will make them feel like you are putting burning coals on their heads. Shame and guilt for their behaviour in the face of that which does right. Light always triumphs over darkness. The secret is remaining in the light, though. That is hard when the darkness wants you to enter it and do as it does. That is where God comes in.
I often weep between fairs. Crying my heart out to God. I am a student nurse, a good nurse, compassionate and professional. All say being nurtured to one day be a doctor. Returning to the night streets is all the more harder after stints in hospital amongst the caring. Light and Dark – the contrast is often startling.
Thankfully, the next fare is pleasant. An attractive young lady. She begins to compliment me. After the abuse I soak it up – at first. That is until she starts stroking my face. Something is not right. Temptation of a different kind. The enemy has changed tactics and seeks to bring me down by feeding my ego. I tell her to stop touching me. It is a viper with legs and it certainly does not care I have a faithful and lovely wife or that I am trying to live Holy. On the contrary, it wants to tear all that to pieces. I am thankful when the fare ends. Drained the night is only half finished.
Another woman gets in. She is abusive and arrogant. I drop her off at her destination. As I leave, I discover her iphone in the cab. A second one! I go back to her home and return the phone to the egotistical obnoxious woman that treated me like dirt. She does not even thank me. I leave, dejected. More tears. Next fare. God, give me peace.
Two drug addicts. I know they are addicts; after a while, you know everyone. You have seen it all before and start to read people well. The racial abuse begins again. Stupidity flows in the back of the cab as two grown men are reduced to blithering idiots who think they are superior because they have white skin and come from Australia. I refrain from telling them your own culture is 4000 years old and was thriving back when Alexander the Great failed to conquer it! They wouldn’t know who he was anyway.
I stop the cab and this time tell them to leave. They laugh at me and smoke in my cab. I tell them to put it out; they refuse. I take the keys and get out and tell them to do what they want, that I am going nowhere. I feign contacting the police and tell them the cops are on the way. Eventually, they get out. Confronting me two inches from my face – cursing me. Goading me to strike them. I can see the demons working in them, knowing who Iam , tempting me to lose it. Perhaps a well-aimed punch will end my taxi career and my nursing degree in one moment of aggression. It is not worth it. Only God stays my hand. They don’t strike me either. They never do. God is there protecting you, but the tempter is always tempting. Prodding your resolve to remain Holy, to remain Virtuous. A word Aristotle has taught me at university that week.
I drive off and pull over. I pray to God and cry again. In the back seat, I discover a marihuana joint. My last fare leaving it behind. I get out of the cab and look at it. A voice is saying “Go on. What harm will it do? It will calm you down.” Tears run down my cheeks as I say to God I know you don’t want me to have this. I light it in my hand;, it hasn’t touched my lips. Just as I contemplate inhaling – the heavens explode. A torrential downpour begins, seemingly right where I am standing. The joint is soaked through. I throw it away. Somehow managing a smile.
God sent the rain.
“He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear” – 1 Cor 10:13