Monday, February 12, 2007

My Day In Court.

"O God listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth I will cry to you for help, for my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me." Psalm 61: 1-3 NLT

This morning I stood in a Provincial Court of Justice. A very intimidating and scary place for the uninitiated and inexperienced. Enemies were all around me. Powerful enemies. And they weren't the people that were bringing the charge against me. Not the judge, not the police officer, not the crown counsel. My enemies were all within. The captain was "fear" and his army was called "the fear of man".

"State your name."

The judge looked at me from his lofty and imposing perch at the front of the courtroom. "Susan Stewart," I said, wondering as I spoke if my knees were going to hold me through these proceedings. I was standing there to speak to the charge of "speeding under the highway traffic act".

In the preceding weeks, most of the people with whom I had shared my plans to contest this ticket would immediately ask, "If you got caught speeding, why wouldn't you just pay the fine?" Indeed. Why wouldn't I just pay the fine?

Well, God had other plans. That's all I can say.

God wanted to show me today that I don't have to prepare a defence. That I don't have to fear any one or any thing. That all I need is to know that I am "safe beneath the shelter of his wings!" (Psalm 61:4 NLT), no matter how the circumstances may appear. I stood there before the court and answered the charge with a quiet confidence. Some of the words that came out of my mouth amazed even me. I knew God was giving them to me as I needed them. And I knew I was being delivered from intimidation and the fear of man.

Intimidation is something I have been prey to all of my life. In the weeks leading up to my appearance in court today, God had shown me this weakness in my character (okay, call it "sin" ) ; through books I was reading, through circumstances in my life, through painful interchanges with friends and acquaintances. But God never shows us our bondages without also being ready to set us free. The only stipulation is that we have to do it His way. We have to have come to the end of ourselves, the end of our own resources and be willing to cry out to him throwing our whole selves on Him, holding nothing back. He doesn't settle for half a heart, or half a commitment. He wants it all. He wants us all.

It feels like a scary thing to throw away all your reliance on yourself and your own devices. But it shouldn't be. God is waiting longingly for us to get to the place where we will finally do that. And when we do, he is altogether trustworthy, altogether ready to catch us before we fall.

It doesn't matter whether I won or lost in that courtroom today. What matters is that God proved himself faithful. He proved himself able to answer my cry. He proved that I can trust these final words from Psalm 61:

"I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation and my honor comes from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me."

Today I believed those words. And today I saw a life-long fear vaporize. I saw the fear of man lose its grip on me. And I saw an absolute confidence in God and his loving grace toward me take it's place. I had cried out to God to deliver me. And he did. He surely did.

4 comments:

Dave Hingsburger said...

OK, you are right, it doesn't matter if you won or lost, I know from experience that it's the courage to take on the battle that matters. I feel that about many areas of my life. OK I get it. Now did you win or lose ... I need stories to resolve themselves ... please?

Susan said...

Well, I didn't win -- yet. My trial was put over to June 12, because the Crown has now twice failed to provide disclosure of evidence even though properly requested. They have PROMISED that this time I will have it. But since my alleged infraction occured in March of LAST year, (15 months previously) that means I can argue the Charter of Rights and Freedoms when I go to trial. We all have the right to a speedy trial and in Ontario, at least, that means "less than a year". So I'm pretty confident that my case will be dismissed. I only have to show up one more time.

To be honest with you, I don't know whether I was guilty or not. There is some question about that, which is why I asked for disclosure in the first place. If I'd been speeding and I knew I was guilty, I would have just paid the fine and been done with it.

But I'm REALLY glad this happened, because I'm not afraid of "authority" any more. There's a way higher power than the men and women in that court room yesterday, some of whom were downright arrogant and disrespectful to me -- until the judge walked into the room... Power corrupts. But it's amazing how quickly the intimidators will bow to the higher power when they appear on the scene... (I'm sure I've done it myself but it's a lot easier to see in others.) That puts new light on it when I think of that Scripture that says, when Jesus shows up, "every knee shall bow and every tongue confess" that he is Lord...

I must say though, that power has not corrupted that judge. He treated me kindly, patiently, and bent over backwards to explain things to me so that I would be able to read between the lines and would understand my rights and privileges as a Canadian citizen. He did all but "advise" me on legal issues, which, of course would have been improper for him to do. (But the subject of "power" is another discussion for another blog! :) )

Thanks for asking, Dave. I'll keep you posted.

Leann said...

well said.I wanted to stop and tell you I did the story of the turtle on my blog if you care to read it.you liked the ice fishing one so I did the turtle one to.God bless you

Belinda said...

Leann, I can't wait to read that story. You have such a gift of story telling!