Driving on the 110 Freeway this morning, I spotted a police car tucked away on the side of the road. "He's trying to catch us doing something illegal," I thought immediately. I checked my speed and slowed down as a precaution, even though I was under the speed limit. I continued to scrutinize my behavior: Was my seatbelt on? Was my registration tag current? Was I talking on my cell without an earpiece? Fear seized me, even though I hadn't broken any laws.
I believed that the cop's job was to catch me and punish me. It never crossed my mind that his true job is to protect and serve--me, the guy blasting his radio ahead of me, and the woman putting on lipstick next to me. His duty is to protect me from the folks who drive at dangerous speeds like they're playing a car racing game, and to keep me away from those borderline alcoholics who think it's okay to drive after several drinks. He is there to keep me safe: to protect me from them and them from me because I have had to drop my cell phone mid-convo while driving on more than one occasion cause I didn't have my earpiece with me.
His job is to keep all of us safe, but I don't usually see it this way. I think he's ready to pounce on me when I mistake.
Too often I view God in the exact same way. I believe that His job is to catch me and punish me. I go throughout my day fearful that He's going to catch me doing something wrong and then yell, "Aha!" as He figures out a good consequence to lash on me.
But God isn't like this at all. He is here to protect us; He is here to serve us. Matthew 20:28 says,"The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve." And I constantly remind myself of the heart of Psalm 23, that "the Lord is my shepherd."
My prayer is that I can live believing that God (and the po po) really are there to protect me and to take care of me. Surely driving through life will be a lot more delightful this way.