Something happened to me today that I wanted to share with you. This morning I was on my way to work, running a little late. I usually take this route through the Angeles Forest area. There are not too many cars on this road, and it is a very scenic drive.
Anyway, I'm tooling along, kind of in a hurry. At one point I'm driving 70 miles per hour, although the speed limit is 55. Well, just on the other side of this incline is a highway patrolman. He is sitting in his car, waiting for speeders. Of course when I saw him, I braked a bit, but I knew it was too late. Next thing I know, the officer's car is behind me with his red lights a flashing. I'm being pulled over.
So I pull over, feeling stupid. I know the speed limit. I don't want my insurance rate to go up. Yet here I am, dead to rights. About to get a ticket. As a matter of fact, I deserved to get a ticket.
Well, the officer comes to my passenger side window. I roll the window down. He says to me, "Do you know why I pulled you over?"
I said, "Yes, I know. I was speeding. I was going at least 70. I should know better. I think the speed limit here is what? 50? 55?" And while I'm saying this, I'm handing him my license and registration.
The officer looked at me, and he said, "You know what? I'm not going to give you a ticket. We give people tickets to teach them a lesson. You are the first honest person I've encountered in a long time who admitted that they were wrong. You have admitted that you broke the law."
Now, here comes the really special part. I have a bumper sticker on my back window that says, "Jesus -- don't leave earth without Him." The officer says to me, "I read your back window sticker. I know that you know about God and God's law. I can tell that you understand that when a law is broken, there is a price that must be paid. There is no need for me to punish you. I can tell by your words that you understand." Something about this officer made me know that he was not just being nice, but that he was truly a Christian man.
Well, when I realized that he was not going to give me a ticket, I told him thank you. Then I said to him, "I've given up my other bad driving habits. I need to repent of my desire to sometimes speed." It was then that he said one more thing that spoke to my heart in a really deep way. The officer said to me, "You don't have to make any promises to me. You know what you need to do. Just do it."
As I drove away from that merciful highway patrolman, I thought a lot about the Lord. I could see so many similarities in what had just happened to me and what happens between God and man. I thought of how God is willing to bestow His mercy to those who will admit that they are sinners and turn from their wicked ways. And I thought of how God must feel when people run, hide, make excuses, and do everything but confess, "Yes, Lord, I have broken Your laws." I thought of how Jesus, the only One who is without sin, died on the cross for the sins that I am guilty of. I thought of how lame it is to say to God, "I'm sorry" today, and then keep on committing those same sins tomorrow.
And I was reminded of these two verses: Proverbs 28:13, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." And Isaiah 55:7, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." My mind was just reeling with thoughts, many more than I can share in this short story.
Anyway, you'd better believe that I will be driving a lot slower from now on. And I thank God for sending me a Christian highway patrol officer who bestowed upon me mercy of another sort and, in so doing, made me appreciate God's mercy and Jesus' sacrifice all the more. You truly never know whom God will use to make His presence felt!