Pulling Over

Traffic Stop 1

 Strongsville

It’s not as dramatic as it sounds, but I gave myself up to the police last night.

I had just finished a late night at work and found myself with an intense desire to get home as quickly as I could.

After swinging by my friend’s place and picking up my dog, I pulled onto Willamette Falls Drive and flipped on the stereo to listen to my audio Bible.

On my way out of West Linn I blew past a police car that was parked in the dark lot of a baseball field. I was doing at least 10 miles per hour over the legal limit.

I’ve seen that police car parked there before.

I’ve seen that officer pull people over before.

I knew that he was there looking for people who were speeding.

Tonight he was looking for me.

My first thought was that it wasn’t fair that a police officer can sit in a dark parking lot with all of his lights off.

My second thought was to look in the rear view mirror to see what the officer was doing.

He had just turned on his headlights.

My third thought was that the speed limit should definitely be higher on this stretch of road… especially for people who work hard serving the Lord.

That’s when a thought that I wouldn’t naturally have popped into my mind:

“You are totally speeding”

I’m pretty sure that this thought was from someone else, because I’m naturally inclined to make excuses and self-justify when I’m doing wrong.

It was an unnatural thought, something that was alien to me.

That’s when I knew I needed to just pull over.

I hit my blinker and stopped on the wide side of the bridge. The police officer had just pulled out of the car park and about 10 seconds later rolled up behind me.

While parking his cruiser he fired up his light bar and hit my car with the floodlight. As he walked up to my car I rolled down my window, told him that I had a dog in the car, handed him my license, registration, and proof of insurance.

That’s when he thanked me.

“Thanks for pulling over and warning me about your dog.”

I didn’t know how to respond, so I just said, “You’re welcome.”

Then he said, ”I probably don’t need to tell you that you were speeding.”

That’s when I thanked him for not rubbing it in.

He said, “You’re welcome.”

He went back to his car, to do whatever cops do with that little television set, and I began trying to calculate how much this mistake was going to cost me… and how I was going to explain it to my wife.


He came back and told me that he was going to let me go with a warning, and to not speed anymore.

I said, “Thank You.”

He said, “You’re welcome… nice dog.”

I drove home safely and slowly.

I didn’t write this to demonstrate the importance politeness during police interaction.

I didn’t write this to provide a manual on how to “get off with a warning.”

I wrote this to demonstrate that each of us has an opportunity to submit to the voice of Wisdom when it speaks to us.

Last night I was faced with the choice to listen to the voice of God or to continue preaching my own gospel to myself.

In my Gospel I am the persecuted hero, in God’s Gospel I am guilty of sin.

When I chose to speed I was choosing to listen to the voice from within me. When we do this we always suffer the consequences.

Sometimes the consequences are immediate and sometimes they are delayed.

But there are always consequences.

When I chose to pull over it was because I was listening to the voice coming from outside of me.

Sometimes the rewards of listening to God happen immediately, and sometimes they happen at later times.

But there are always rewards.

I’m grateful for the officer for his unique blend of professionalism tempered with grace.

I’m grateful to God for his unique combination of warning and mercy.

But I’m most grateful that He faithfully speaks HIS Gospel to me.

“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” -Proverbs 2:1-5

 

11 Responses to “Pulling Over”

  1. Keith Dart February 1, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    Love it…

  2. Sharon O February 1, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    Great sharing, because my son is a uniformed officer I know how it is for them and I also know how it is for us who are being pulled over. (I have had my share of those moments)
    They are checking out who you are, whether you are wanted or any other ‘problem’ they should know about.
    It keeps them safe and also keeps them informed as to your ‘character’ you could have been a bad guy.
    Sounds like you got off with a great lesson.
    Slow down and pay attention.

  3. Kimberly Kyllo February 1, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    Love!

  4. Charley February 1, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    Great post Jon. Did you tell your dear wife before or after writing the blog? just wondering. WE have to watch those pastors!
    but what a great reminder of our need to listen to God, even when we are sinning (:)) or not! We often go through our life as if we were in control and the only one that is important.
    Charley

    • Jon February 1, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

      She actually called me during the traffic stop! So when I called her back I told her why I didn’t answer!

  5. Brian P February 1, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    Let me guess… was it Officer Boyle? He’s nabbed both me and Kerri at that exact spot! Glad you got off with a warning.

    • Jon February 1, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

      If Officer Boyle is tatted up then it was him!

  6. Darcy Hansen February 1, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    That road runs right behind my house and that park is just down the street. We love that the police hang out around our area. Lots of people cross the street between our neighborhood and the park. Drivers blowing through going 40+ have little time to slow down for a pedistrian crossing the street, especially a child who may stray ahead of their parent. The beauty is when we slow down, we will usually see something pretty amazing that we may have missed if we were zooming at the speed of light. Thanks for sharing and enjoy the ride:)

  7. Bob February 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Yeah, I know that feeling. One of the most fascinating things, to me, in traffic stops are the people who just keep on driving while the officer follows with flashing blues. I want to ask those people: Do you not ever look in your mirrors? Did you have that kind of parent who just gave up if you ignored them long enough? Do you really think he is going to stop following you?

    As a fellow citizen of God’s kingdom, thanks for pulling over like a good citizen here, and thanks for extending grace to a peace officer. As someone who frequently gets into to much of a hurry, I’m glad he extended some grace to you as well. I don’t angle for it, and I don’t expect it, but it sure is nice when it happens!

    • Bob February 1, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

      *too

      *too much of a hurry…

      Ack!

    • Jon February 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

      So good Bob! I wonder a lot of those same things too.

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