Isaiah 26:3 (New Century Version)
3 You, Lord, give true peace
to those who depend on you,
because they trust you.
It was snowing as Frances drove to work and the car in front of her was doing 80 km per hour in an 80 km per hour zone. She seethed with impatience at what seemed like a deliberately slow pace, holding her up with no place to pass. What was he doing, admiring the view?
At her first chance she would pass him ; there was a passing lane at the top of the hill ahead. But as he got to the base of the hill he sped up. He had deliberately held her up, she thought, and now that she had a chance to pass he was going to make it difficult.
"He's just doing this to make me angry--thumbing his nose at me," she fumed.
"My anger told me it was a communist plot," she said later, "I was in competition with every driver on the road; everyone slower than me was the enemy."
As she sped up to pass, she looked in her mirror to see lights go on what was an unmarked police car, signalling her to pull her over.
At the top of the hill she pulled off the road, wound down her window, and waited. The wind was blowing hard in that exposed area and the snow swirled around her vehicle.
The tall, slender figure of a young OPP officer approached. As he bent down to her window, he raised the fake fur collar of his bomber jacket to his ear, to shield his face from the biting wind.
Calmly he said, "In a bit of a hurry, weren't you? You were traveling quite close to me there."
"Yeah," she said, "You were going the speed limit."
He asked why she was in such a hurry and she was honest--she told him she was going to work, but that she knew she was doing 110-115 km per hour when she passed him.
"You're driving angry," he observed, "You need to relax."
And she thought of her whole life; every part of it.
"I drive all over Southern Ontario; I'm a traffic cop," the officer continued, "I drive the limit; it's relaxing. You will be more relaxed if you drive the limit."
As he hunched his shoulders higher against the wind, peace was seeping into the places where anger had been. This peaceful man, who moments earlier she had been inwardly fuming against, was taking time, in the cold, to teach her and extend mercy. His words were finding their mark, changing her heart and attitude more than any harsh rebuke would have done.
He will never know that not only Frances was changed that day, but her experience has also impacted me. As I drove home late last night in a bad snow storm, although I wasn't tempted to speed, I heard his voice saying, "You need to relax," and my white knuckled grip on the wheel relaxed as I pressed my back into the seat and calmed down.
Is it coincidence that Susan and I both got speeding tickets as well within the past month? Maybe God wanted to make a point (I don't know how else this could have happened) but ours were on the same day and within one minute of each other's. Hers was at 1.45 in Alliston and mine was at 1.46 in Durham. Susan's husband Ron said that my police officer's watch was probably fast.
I guess we all need to relax and slow down. Our tickets were God's grace and mercy.
Romans 13:3-4 (New International Version)
3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.