Yesterday I was reflecting on an incident that happened some years ago in the small Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho when I was working there as a missionary!
This reminder crossed my mind as I was meditating on the idea of God’s grace (Love) compared to the Old Covenant where Law ruled. The story goes;
Being pedantic about ‘doing the right thing’…..I try to keep the law in principal. In a country like Lesotho, with traffic as it is, this is a massive challenge. Initially one is very conscious of keeping the traffic rules, but after a few days, weeks…and if you are a particularly diligent person, perhaps months…..you begin to be tempted not to keep all the rules, and adopt a ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’ approach. At times this could be your only means of survival just to get from A to B!
Now don’t get all self righteous with me you ‘good people’who have driven there…you know you had moments of temptation!
One day I genuinely forgot to put my seat-belt on as I pulled away in my car…sure enough as I turned the first corner, there stood a traffic policemen on the road-side flagging me down! Despite the fact I knew the fine for such a demeanour, or actually any other indiscretion, like speeding (no matter what speed!), un-roadworthy vehicle etc, carried a maximum fine of R30 ($2.30 US), my heart started beating at a brisk rate, I felt the blood draining from my face, and I reached instinctively for the seat-belt !!
As I pulled over, the smiling policemen greeted me (as only Basotho police can do) and as he began explaining why he pulled me over I finished his sentence “For not wearing a seat-belt”!
“Yes Ntate (Mister), this is the reason I have pulled you over today”…..still smiling! There was no argument and I admitted I had forgotten my seat-belt asking him what I need to pay. Those I referred to above who have driven in Lesotho, will know exactly where that conversation went! It was more like a bargaining exchange at a curio stand in most countries in Africa, but I will leave it there
Having established I would not pay him the R30 unless he gave me a receipt, and offering to take him to the Police station to obtain one, he realised (along with my broken Sesotho), that I knew how this worked and I wasn’t going to go the bribe route He let me off with a stern (still with a smile), warning…and off I went….also smiling
But as I drove away relieved, I felt this thought drop into my spirit, questioning why I had reacted as I did when I saw the policeman! I detected a ‘still small voice’ reminding me, that if I truly understood the seat-belt was there, not as a ‘have to’ to keep me from breaking the law, but for my own good and protection and others in my vicinity, then I would wear it.
Isnt it true, that some things we see as ‘have to’s’ in our life (Law), are actually put there by a Loving God, who knows what’s best for us, even when we cant see it or it seems restricting! Im finding ‘obeying’ my Creator easier as I realise its not to ‘ruin my day/life’ that the instruction is there, but because He knows me and the path I have to go, better than I ever will. Its not about Law, but Love