It’s an old joke. The police officer pulls the driver over and asks, “do you know why I pulled you over?” The driver replies, “it depends upon how long you’ve been following me!”
Well, it happened! I got a ticket. The officer said that I didn’t come to a complete stop. What could I say? I didn’t even remember the stop sign. I drive that route every morning. It’s second nature to me now. I didn’t come to a complete stop?
He was probably right; I mean, complete - complete? Probably not. Not that kind of “complete” that gives the officer the right to decide whether or not you stopped, or you are illegally parking at the sign! No; no, I probably didn’t come to “A COMPLETE STOP!”
It cost me. It cost me $288.00 I hadn’t budgeted last month under, “Sneaky Hidden Police”. Well, regardless, I probably didn’t stop. But I sure did slow a lot!
As I think about it, that particular stop sign has probably been there for 50 years. There was nothing hidden about it; it was rather obvious. It didn’t just spring up over night, wasn’t obscured by over hanging tree branches or by the early morning sun’s glare. It never changed it’s message - it was consistent; it always read, “STOP”. I was careless.
How often do we get careless about the direction we take in life. Perhaps in our complacency we lose sight of those warning signs along the way. The more we take the same route the less we tend to consider obvious signs intended to keep us safe. Maybe there’s a particular direction our lives have been taking that deep in our hearts we know is not pleasing to God. We saw the, “CAUTION, STOP AHEAD” sign long ago and lately, well, let’s just say that lately we’ve been sort of rolling through the stop sign.
There have been no adverse affects so far. We’ve probably been very careful at the intersection. We slow down significantly. But the sign says, “STOP”. Oh, occasionally we look around as we approach the sign - just to make sure no Authority is watching. Ah, but God sees, God knows. His signs are posted to guide us and keep us safe. If we are fortunate, He will lovingly pull us over and remind us. If we persist, the potential for irreversible tragedy looms great.
So, as we start this day off, let us do so intending to follow all the signs, being careful to yield the right of way to others, stop at all the stop signs, travel at all the speed limits, and safely enjoy the ride, safely reach the destination.
“Am I a God at hand, says the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide hide himself in secret places so that I will not see him?” - Jeremiah 23:23,24
“And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, naked and defenseless to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” - Hebrews 4:13
“For if we searchingly examined ourselves - detecting our shortcomings and recognizing our own condition - we should not be judged and penalty decreed [by the divine judgment].” - 1 Corinthians 11:31
“Who can discern his lapses and errors? Clear me from hidden [and unconscious] faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! THEN shall I be blameless, and I shall be innocent and clear of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my [firm, impenetrable] rock and my redeemer.” - Psalms 19:12-13