I have only been pulled over by the police and ticketed for speeding one time in almost 40 years of driving.
No, I don’t pre-date radar detection devices. (It is true that the more or less common use of them was just coming into its’ own as I was starting to drive.)
The one time was many years ago, but just as fresh as yesterday.
America was in an energy emergency that had driven up gas prices exponentially and led the Federal Government to usurp some power, requiring a 55 mph national speed limit.
I was driving someone from my college in southeastern Kentucky to the closest large airport in Knoxville, TN. The drive up, across, and down Jellico Mountain on I-75 was beautiful, but frustrating.
Classic north/south truck traffic was augmented by regional coal trucks meaning you were going to get behind trucks chugging up the mountain and jostling for position on the long, flat plateau at the top.
Your only hope to achieve that 55 mph speed limit was to hang back, look for empty space, and then dart into it (NASCAR 101).
So, I waited, watched, and jumped into an empty space.
Sadly, I had lost track of where I was on the plateau and found myself in front of all of those trucks just as gravity became their friends.
Now, suddenly, these giant vehicles were pushing me down the other side of the mountain.
More than a little intimidated, I dashed off from the danger only to discover one of Tennessee’s finest perched behind a rock with a newly minted radar gun.
A few minutes later I saw the glare of red and blue lights flashing across my dashboard and heard the blare of a siren coming through the window.
My pulse quickened, my hands perspired, my face flushed, and my heart raced. It was an ugly feeling. I was embarrassed because…
- my guest knew my sin
- I could make no excuses (a witness in the car)
- I would have to explain this to the college
- the policeman and his radar were right – I was guilty
I remember that moment – those emotions – with such profound clarity that I have never been pulled over for speeding since.
Not that I have never exceeded the speed limit (though my family and friends might find that hard to believe given my reputation of ‘driving like an old man’). However, when I have found myself outside of the limit and seen (or suspected) a radar location up ahead those emotions have washed over me and called me to lift my foot from the accelerator and coast back down to the limit of the law.
The very 1st story of the Bible is the story of God creating. As long as there is human curiosity, arguments will persist as to how God did it, but at least one point of the story is that God did it.
Once humanity was created, in the initial person of Adam and Eve, they were placed in a simply delightful Garden and given permission to chow down on almost anything.
If you are a Bible reader you know the story of their poor choice. If not, it’s worth the read!
There is a dramatic moment in that story where God walks through the Garden calling out for them.
When God finds them they are hiding (that’s new) and covering themselves (that’s new, too). When God presses how they came to their current state, they pass the buck with the skill of a contemporary politician!
The dialog is laced with untruths – some they had created themselves and some they had bought into from the Adversary.
God asks, “Why are you hiding?”
They answer, “Because we were naked.”
God asks, “And who told you you were naked?”
Adam pointed to Eve, and Eve pointed to the Enemy.
EVER SINCE MY TICKET (and maybe before) I have pictured God in the magnificent Garden of Eden with a moral-radar-gun, hiding behind a bush, waiting for Adam and Eve to mess things up. Then, when they did, I could hear God’s Voice sounding like the voice of the policeman.
Last week I was meditating on this story and heard a different Voice.
I pictured a couple of kids in a simply wonderful kitchen, having been told by their grandparents they could eat anything on the table or in the pantry… just stay out of the cookie jar… those were not for now. The grandparents knew best!
…the grandparents were also wise enough to see what was coming.
Stepping in from some yard work they began to call out for the kids, “Where are you?”
When they walked in the kitchen and saw crumbs on the counter and chocolate smeared across their faces they asked, “What have you been doing?”
When they heard the lame excuses they asked, “Who told you you could have a cookie?”
The story ended with consequences: the kids scooted from the kitchen by their grandparents. However, these were grandparents who cleaned up the mess, cleaned up the kids, and never ever stopped loving them.
In one single afternoon, God challenged an image I had born of Him all my life.
I could almost hear God’s Voice say, “I am so much more like that loving, concerned, crazy-for-you, gifting, best-for-you grandparent than that untrusting, stranger, looking-to-catch-you policeman.”
How do you see God?
If you ask, I believe God will show you.