On: How some people learn the easy way but I prefer electroshock therapy
I wasn't actually doing anything wrong. I was merely being a good Romanian driver. The police officer said I cut across two solid white lines and cut into the flow of traffic dangerously close to a minivan. Then he told me that my license was expired and that I did not have proper proof of insurance. Then I missed my court date. Then I called for the amount of money it would take to clear my name, stopped to get a cashiers check for that amount when I was in Ft. Payne, AL, then took it to the office only for them to tell me that I ought to go to court, that my check was not large enough to cover all my fines.
I really am not trying to be illegal. I do not like being criminal and, in this case, was never really even trying to do anything wrong. Actually, it was that pullover that precipitated my going to North Carolina to get that one cleared up (see previous entry) so that I could obtain a legal license.
I am not telling you all this to prove what a putz of a driver I am (a truth to which my sister would attest happily) or what kind of citizen I am. I have found myself asking the question: if I believe in a sovereign God, do I believe that even these headaches/"trials" are from Him? If I believe He is loving, do I think these are from Him? If both of the above, then how do I act differently in light of those truths?
Last night I felt defeated, tossed about, bedraggled, and I was acting as sullen as a four year old at dinner just to prove it. I found myself wanting to run away to Romania. Therein is the lie I want to believe, that geography is the problem. Thing is, I believe the same thing when life is not going so well in Romania: if I were only in the States, I wouldn't be having all these problems. And in a way I am right. I wouldn't have to deal with Romanians and all their quirks if I lived in Dothan, AL; I would have to deal with the Dothanites and all their quirks. And I would fail at it just the same if not worse. At least in Romania I can claim cultural ignorance.
No. The problem is not geography...or wealth...or community...or language. The problem is just this heart of mine, which is deceitful above all else, and desperately wicked. And my heart has a habit of following me around wherever I go. As my pastor has often said: if you ever find the perfect church, get out before you mess it up. I could say the same about even the most ideal of living or ministry situations. Near as I can tell, things externally are not guaranteed to get any better for a while for any of us. But I have heard so many people pray, and have prayed myself, something like: "Lord, this day is yours, so, not my will, but thy will be done." While this is a good thing to pray, the crux is not in praying it but in believing it, in putting it into action. Did I really think that all the little hangups and gliches in my attempts to do the right thing are from the Lord, were part of his plan? Not if I act angry, frustrated, and bitter when they aren't going my way. Lord, make me able to bring to you a sacrifice of praise, which is only a sacrifice when it is hard.
Anyway, as a result of my failures to comply with various State traffic laws, I found myself before yet another judge today (this has apparently been the theme of my time back at home), and I received mercy yet again (this has apparently been the theme of my life since I began calling on the name of the one who stands before the throne of the Holy Judge). I got off for considerably less than I expected to pay, and all charges were dropped. It feels so good. I don't think I will make a habit out of it, however.
I leave you now with a word from Lamentations 3, which is one of my favorites:
My soul continually remembers [my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall], and it is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
And a little further down it says: "It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth." I know I am not exactly in my youth (although I did have to watch a teen driving safety video today), but my prayer is that bearing the yoke of my stupidity and irresponsibility now will perhaps make for greater blessing later on. Let's hope in Him who is worthy of all our hopes.