"Give me a sign of Your goodness..."
I was guilty. Guilty of what the officer initially pulled me over for: exceeding the speed limit. I didn't see the sign. The speed limit abruptly changed from 40 mph to 25 mph on the pretty country road, and I didn't see the sign notifying me of said change.
Or maybe I wasn't looking.
When I received my driver's license at the age of 16, I also took on the great responsibility of knowing the rules and laws of the road. With the privilege of driving comes the responsibility of obeying the rules. Watching for and obeying the road signs keeps us all safe and traveling in the right direction.
This recent unexpected encounter with a law enforcement officer reminded me that it's the same with being a Christian. With the blessings of being a Christian comes the responsibility and requirement to know His Word, His commandments, His precepts.
His Word guides us, protects us and keeps us traveling in the right direction. "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (Psalm 119:105)
"I delight in Your decrees;
I will not neglect Your Word."
Psalm 119:16 reverberates in my heart daily. I am to delight in His decrees. I am to not neglect His Word. No one else can do those things for me. Not my husband, not my children, not my girlfriends and not my pastors. Me. I am responsible to not neglect His Word. To not neglect knowing and delighting in His Word. To not neglect my relationship with Him, the Word became flesh. (John 1:14)
I am responsible to seek, to look, to know.
And when we do neglect and don't see or look for the signs, there is His grace. There is His mercy. This is my life's testimony passage:
"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us by the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, Whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life."
His mercy and His grace save us.
I asked the police officer for mercy. I hadn't been looking diligently for the signs along the road and I was guilty of exceeding the speed limit. Remorseful, I confessed to him that I was wrong. And I asked him for mercy.
The officer went back to his patrol car for a few minutes and then returned to my driver's side window. Handing me back my car registration, my insurance certificate and my driver's license, he said, "Happy Thanksgiving. Drive Safely."
My only response to the mercy and grace of a holy God should be reverence and humble obedience.
I thanked the officer and wished him a Happy Thanksgiving as well. He then asked me to roll down my rear window so he could reassure my daughter that everything was fine. With tears still rolling down her cheeks from this unexpected and frightening event, the officer reassured Gabrielle that her mommy had an excellent driving record and that everything was fine. He reminded her that police officers are to protect everyone, and that is what he was doing. Gabrielle understood and was grateful for his reassurance.
The police officer's mercy and reassurance were treasures to me and my daughter.
The gifts of God's mercy and His grace are invaluable to this sinner's heart. "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) God reminded me of the precious relief and life He gives us. In the shadow of our guilt is the light of His mercy and grace.
"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."