On a mission trip this summer, a friend shared a line he uses when pulling someone over for speeding or some other infraction. He is a former student, a highway patrolman, and a dear friend. Mike exhibits a strong sense of authority, but extends grace in all He does. I thought of him yesterday as God taught me a powerful lesson.
Occasionally, Mike has to deal with a driver who is angry or upset about being pulled over. As they rant or rave or cry or scream, he calmly tells them, “Ma’m, or Sir, let me give you the gift of perspective.” As he kindly, but firmly, reminds them of the seriousness of the situation and the consequences of their actions, tempers usually calm as that gift helps them see the bigger picture.
God pulled me over yesterday afternoon and gave me the gift of perspective. I was blubbering on again about how much I wanted something I couldn’t have, and He listened patiently as I prayed in the quiet sanctuary. I’ve had the conversation with Him before; in fact, I’ve been pulled over for the same offense many times. I sang the same sad song thinking perhaps this time I would get a different response. I’m sure Mike misses many of those who speed and break the law because He can’t be everywhere all the time. I’m sure he has repeat offenders who try to pull the same thing with him, but I’m sure it doesn’t work. God doesn’t miss a single infraction and must get tired of me trying to sneak past Him or cry when He pulls me over. Like Mike, God stops me because He cares and doesn’t want me to end up in a crash.
Tyler got a speeding ticket when he was a new driver and called me up to his room the morning after to tell me the news. He asked me to sit on the bed and said he had something he had to tell me. My mind raced, and my heart sank. I imagined the worse as I waited for the bomb to drop. He just handed me the ticket and didn’t say a word. When I read it, I began to cry. Tyler was upset that he had hurt me and began to explain that he would pay for the ticket and the insurance increase. I stopped crying and immediately turned to face him. I asked if he really thought I was crying over insurance! I explained to him that in a Jeep on a curvy road at the speed on his ticket, I was simply thankful I wasn’t picking out what suit he would be wearing for his funeral service. He paled and looked down at the bed. He understood that gift of perspective. He handed me his license. I asked him to write a thank you note to the patrolman who wrote the ticket thanking him for saving his life. He did, and life went on until the next gift came along:)
Gifts of perspective are the most difficult ones because they involve looking at what can happen if I don’t stop and think about the consequences of what I’m doing. Once I poured out my heart and stopped sniffing, I was able to see more clearly. I felt better knowing God heard my heart even though I knew I was not going to get away without His gift of perspective. I’m glad because my heart needed the lesson His perspective clearly taught. As long as I travel, I’ll be getting those gifts of perspective. They remind me that eternity is much longer than my brief stay here on earth. God’s plan frees me to love as He desires and live the life He has in mind. God is faithful to stop and give me the gift of perspective and help me avoid the crash that can occur when I get ahead of Him and forget that His rules for living, like the ones for driving, are designed to make my journey a joy:)