Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Jury is Out and I'm It - And a Few Speeding Stories

Tomorrow at 8 o'clock I start a jury duty assignment; my civic duty. Who knows what that will entail. It could be hours or months, or anything in between.

I don't really like court, and for good reason. Not to mention it is just not as romantic as in Law & Order.

I doubt that anyone enjoys court unless they have sure case to settle for a lot of money. I find that court is stressful, dirty, and there is a certain authoritarian feeling that I don' t have the words to describe. You might be thinking, how much experience does he have with court? In some respects, much more than I'd like to admit.

In 1976 I got a speeding ticket; 51 in a 35. I decided to fight it. The fine at the time was $25 and in my own mind, I should get off. Until that day, I was a court-virgin of sorts. I met with the magistrate and he decided that I was a long-haired nuisance. He sort of threatened me - "well, you'll be a fool if you go in front of the judge." He said. I paid the ticket.

I had attended college in another state (not mentioned for good reason). Of all the kids on my floor, I was the most sober of the bunch and one of the guys gave me the keys to his Porsche Turbo. Dumb idea for him, and dumber for me. I ran that cops after they clocked me at 121 in a 25. They caught up with the car, and eventually me, the next morning. I lied and said didn't see them. I received a ticket for a court appearance and promptly left the state. That was one court I wasn't looking forward to.

I had a similar experience 2 years later. This time I got the ticket that was originally $80 down to $35. The magistrate seemed pleased that my defense was a "poor stupid college student admitting to doing 46 in 25 mph zone" instead of saying that I wasn't going that fast - which was technically the truth. I had been late for school and I speeding along at 61 in a 25. The cop had pity on me as I would have lost my drivers license. He lowered the speed to 46 and that dropped the mandatory court appearance; reduced a fine of no less than $300 and a 30 day suspension - it all went away.

In 1993 I had lost my job, and ended up in an eviction hearing. It was humiliating, but the Lord was with me. The judge was very kind, and his verdict was actually an answer to prayer. We had a couple of hearings as God moved on my behalf and supplied a miraculous solution. More on that story another time. All I can say is that court in your favor or not, is still not a friendly place.

Fast forward (pun intended) to 1997. I had bought a new BMW and was zipping along some back roads being; mister big-shot businessman in my newly polished roadster. Just as I shifted second gear I saw that police coming the other way. I slammed on the brakes, but it was too late - 61 in a 40. I quietly took my ticket and proceeded home with caution.

I decided to fight the ticket and headed off to court. As I sat before the magistrate, the Lord spoke to me. He said, "you'll be here many more times, but I will be with you." I remember calling my friend and telling him about it. We were puzzled, but I thought it would be because of something that I did for the Lord.

I got off on the ticket. The judge said a speeding ticket was nothing to get excited about and I had a clean record as of late.

I thought a lot about Paul and Silas, and those jailed for the Gospel message. Each time I traveled on a mission trip or did a public out reach (sounds almost foreign, doesn't it?) I though about that message from God. To date there have been no incidents involving me and court that include the gospel.

In 2000 my wife (now ex) filed for divorce and I had more appearances before a judge than I can count. On one of the very stressful appearances I was praying as I was purchasing crackers from the vending machine and I heard the Lord. He reminded me of what I had heard a few years before. And there I stood, at peace. His promise was simply letting me know that He was there, and He was in charge. I felt total peace as I went back and sat on the bench.

Amazingly, I was back in the court for a child support adjustment in 2006. I heard his promise again. "It is over." For over 4 years - nothing.

Today I am sitting around waiting to see if I would be called for for jury but it doesn't look likely. And honestly, that is fine with me. I prefer Law & Order.

How about you, do you hear God's voice? Tell us about it.

2 comments:

photogr said...

I got a laugh out of this. It appears you are a big time traffic offender.

To get out of jury duty I always said I was deaf ( which is not entirely false. ( I am deaf in one ear thanks to hard rock and race cars over the years).

I do hear the Lords voice when he has to tell me things though.

Tony C said...

Ol' Lead Foot Johndrow! You'd fit right in here in the South...

I left the USMC to attend law school at the University of Tennessee in 1991. Even though I had been accepted and had all my affairs in order, God took me in a different direction. I don't think I was fully aware God was leading me back then...but I'm sure of it and very thankful today!

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