As I was headed home from work today and taking my usual exit off of the highway, one of Tulsa’s finest pulled out and changed lanes to end up just behind my car. Any other time there wouldn’t have been any problem, but today…I had expired plates.
I knew it was difficult to see the date on the plates without being right behind the car, so I tried to think of a way to limit the amount of time this officer of the law would be sitting directly behind my car at the red light that was up ahead. I immediately changed lanes to be able to hang a right at the red light. Guess what? So did he.
As I headed down the street, I kept a close watch in my rear-view mirror as the police car passed a car to wind up directly behind me. All but riding my bumper, I knew it was only a matter of time before I saw the inevitable blue and red lights. At the approaching intersection, there was a gas station on the left on the opposite side of the street. If he was following me, he’d just follow me into the parking lot. I got into the left lane just a second before he did as well. I decided to pull off to allow him to hit me with a traffic ticket or at the very least, a warning. I really didn’t feel like receiving either.
The green left-turn arrow flashed and I turned first left, then immediately right into the gas station parking lot; assuming the squad car would follow me all the way in. As I turned into the parking lot, much to my amazement, the cop kept driving. As he vanished around the corner, I pulled into the nearest parking spot to celebrate my near brush with the law. Not paying attention to where I had pulled in, I found myself looking into the blood-shot eyes of a sweat-covered poor man in a stained and tattered t-shirt standing over the open hood of a car. We locked eyes and my stomach sank. I did my best to shoot him a smile.
As I got out of the car, I could tell this man was in real trouble besides just having a broken down vehicle. In barely coherent words, he told me that his car needed a jump so he could get “him” home. Before I could ask who he was talking about, he pointed to the backseat of his car. In the backseat sat a little boy slumped over asleep in a car seat not a day older than three. The boy was drenched in sweat and his nose had run completely down his front. The backseat of a non-air conditioned car on a 90 degree day was no place for this little boy. I quickly scurried to my trunk to get out my jumper cables and hooked them up. I didn’t immediately notice that he had been holding up the hood of his car until I got out and he asked me to hold up the hood while he tried to turn the car over. The car started right up, I detached the cables, and the man mumbled a “thank you” as he quickly drove off in his rattling car; the little boy still asleep in the backseat.
From the moment that I saw the little boy, I felt like I was being drop kicked in the chest with the sensation that God is completely in control of everything. Many people ask “Where is God?” in certain situations. Others say “I will wait for God” in other situations. These people desperately need to open their eyes to see that God is not a man in the sky, but rather every molecule screams His existence. God lead me straight to that boy. He could have sent a tzadik (righteous man), but instead He sent someone who avoiding ridicule. He could have whisked the little boy away in the arms of an angel but instead, He chose someone who was trying to outrun responsibility.
I hardly remember pulling out of the parking lot to go home because I was so jazzed on the Oneness of God. May we never forget that God is in complete control.