I was cruising along yesterday not thinking about my post and varied comments on driving the speed limit when I see a police car make a u-turn. I was on the phone with a good friend, told him I was getting ready to be pulled over, turned off the radio, and waited. The cop gave me my citation and I drove off. What happened the next hour is something I will not soon forget.
Usually I would be fuming and reeling from such a blatant encroachment on my freedom. This time, however, instead of turning the radio back on and going about my commute home I kept it turned off and began to reflect on the fact that this divine appointment was meant for my good. I began to enumerate the myriad blessings I have in my life and how paying this fine is and will be good for me. Too many times have I thought such activity was a hindrance to life – a citation, a phone call, stuck in traffic, coffee too hot to drink, supper not ready on time. This time, however, I dove into a deeper understanding of how all these inconveniences must be part of my daily commute in life.
Instead of getting angry at the officer who was doing his job, I thanked God for putting authorities over me and my neighbors to keep us from violating other people’s freedoms. Instead of griping about the ticket, I thanked God the officer was kind – additionally he knocked 9 miles off the offense. Instead of yelling about having to spend the money I had just made that day at work, which was going to pay now for this ticket, I thanked God that I had made money at work and that I didn’t goose-egg in my sales that day.
I chose to rejoice in all circumstances. My sinful abuse of freedom had led me to be (rightly) pulled over. The law of the land says I should not drive over a certain speed limit. I did. I broke that law. Again, let’s not be legalistic about it (as I have been in the past) that if I were to go one mile over I would have to repent in sackcloth and ashes. But let’s not exercise undue license. We must not scoff at the speeding limit as though it were a suggestion for other motorists.
God was kind to me to pull me over yesterday. What would happen if I continued to pompously cruise at my own discretion? Might my speeding increase even more to the point of uncontrolled driving? What a gift to not be pulled over so many other times – how many times have I sped!?! What a gift from God to keep me from being a fatal crash. What a gift from God that I have a job to drive to, a car to drive in, two eyes to see, two legs to accelerate, two hands to steer, air conditioning to regulate the temperature in my car, windows that I can roll down to enjoy the fresh air, music I can listen to, a Bluetooth I can play the sermons on my BlackBerry through…so many blessings. I get home, I open my trunk and there are well over a $1000 in library books that I was able to check out and enjoy without paying for them. Another couple books I got from the Band of Bloggers meeting at The Gospel Coalition.
I was reminded of my prideful scoffing at people I have passed on the road who had been pulled over. “Serves them right for driving like banshees.” “Ha ha. That’ll teach him.”
In all of this, we must number our blessings by name so that we are not consumed with irreverent hatred; so that we do not grumble with the monotonous manna we receive every day. Breath is a gift. Family. Friends. Possessions. Do not forget.