During the commute yesterday, a highway patrol officer turned on his lights and began to slow the traffic behind him. He wove left and right across the five or six lanes until we were going 35-40 mph. A car in the far left commuter lane kept trying to ease his way forward. That car would not have been speeding, and usually it’s not illegal to pass a highway patrol. However, the UHP car, with its lights going continuously, would cut back in front of the car that seemed to not have self-restraint.
Why do we push the limits sometimes? We ask, “How fast can I go?” rather than, “How obedient can I be?” Why do we push the limits until we find that line we should not have crossed, and then, some things we would not have changed, are no longer simple and good. Or we allow the influence of others to push us into decisions we would not have made without the presence of their pressure.
Years ago, my DH and I made the trip to Idaho on a wintry December day. As we climbed over Malad pass, on the only plowed lane, an 18 wheeler came up behind us quickly. The truck needed to maintain his speed or he would not make it to the summit. We were afraid to go quicker on the precarious black ice. We increased our speed to 45, but still he gained on us. Finally, with the summit still too far ahead, my DH decided to change to the snow-covered lane to our right. As we did, our tires slipped and we began to spin.
On our left the diesel plowed by, sending sprays from where we had been. Then it stretched out beside our spinning hatchback with the length of his trailer. We spun left, moving toward the large churning wheels. My DH put his hand out in front of me, from instinct rather than practicality, and asked, “Are you okay?” I didn’t answer because I didn’t know yet. As we spun uncontrollably toward the left lane, the large truck passed in front of us and we missed his back end by inches. Then we came to a stop facing the wrong way, but intact.
I thought of that moment again this morning. The temperatures were in the single digits, barely past 0 F. and within moments of the highway patrol car slowing us down we drove into a storm where the slushy roads turned instantly to black ice. If we’d not reduced our speeds, a few cars probably would have lost control, and the results could have been damaging.
I think that when God gives us guidelines, he’s saying, “Slow down, there are storms ahead and I love you.”