I had hoped to be in town before lunch, but my plans didn’t eventuate, and after having a late lunch, there I was doing my errands in town in the mid-afternoon. Jessie needed a nap and I was sure I wouldn’t get home in time to settle her. Nevertheless, I tried not to worry.
The jobs finished, I drove out along the edge of town and noticed a policeman standing against a post on the corner of a side-street. In his hands was a radar gun, trained on my car. I automatically checked my speed… Phew! Still under the limit. Then as I noticed his skinny frame, I recognised him as a friend of mine. I waved out the window while he gave an amusing gesture that showed he was watching me.
I continued driving, still smiling at the brief encounter. Further along the road I came up behind another vehicle. This less-than-new car was travelling at 20km below the speed limit. While I don’t make a habit of speeding, it also annoys me to be stuck behind slow vehicles on the winding route home, which doesn’t allow many opportunities for overtaking.
Their registration plates, I noticed, belonged to Queensland. Since we were now in New South Wales, I didn’t expect the driver to be travelling much further. Normally people who live around us are registered in NSW and so we can see who the ‘locals’ are. But as I followed their painstakingly slow journey, I was disappointed to see that despite passing possible turn-offs, they maintained their course. As they turned into the roads I normally took I groaned with dismay. Surely they were not going all the way along to my place, and so incredibly slow in their drive!
My sighs and impatience alerted my attention. I tried to refocus my thoughts on the positives. I watched the orange leaves along the road, dancing up in the wake of the car ahead of me. Their movement looked like joyful butterflies.
I thought about the slow car and wondered what I would think if it was driven by a friend of mine. What if my friend had engine troubles and was concerned about the safety of the car? Maybe they would have asked me to follow them on the trip to make sure they got home safely. I wouldn’t be impatient about driving slowly then – I would be considerate and glad to help. I wondered if the car ahead of me now had some reason for them driving slowly. I was silly to be resentful of a few seconds’ delay in my journey.
I could see that how I experienced life was a matter of perspective. In the case of the policeman who could invoke fear to a stranger, when we know the man personally, we have no apprehension at all. I saw that God can be the same to us – for those of us who don’t have a close relationship with Him, we could feel fear about judgement and condemnation. But when we know God personally, we know His promises to save and heal broken relationships. Likewise, with the delays and obstacles in our lives that provoke us to be impatient and frustrated, perhaps if we saw the bigger picture of what is going on around us, we might be more gracious about things not working out the way we plan. For if God is for us, who can be against us?*
* Romans 8:31
“Keep alert and set your hope completely on the blessings which will be given to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Be obedient to God, and do not allow your lives to be shaped by those desires you had when you were still ignorant.” 1 Peter 1:13, 14 (Good News Bible)