Cruising the main drag, consisted of going back and forth…and back and forth…and back and forth…from one end of town to the other…circling Hardees on one end and Super Value on the other. Why?…because…what else was there to do? Movies cost money…and gas was free!...Well in 1994, at least, it was less than $1 a gallon. I recall one night, during this weekend ritual, when one of the local law enforcement officers pulled me over.
He stepped out of his vehicle and walked to my window…which I cranked down…but not too far, because I may not be able to make it go back up.
He looked down at me through the open window and yelled, “Do you know why I stopped you tonight?”
“Is it my broken headlight?” I hollered back at him!
“Is it the loud exhaust?” I shouted.
“Is it the missing tail light?” I bellowed.
“Not that either”
He didn’t know about my non-functioning driver side door…yet…nor was he aware that I had to start the car from under the hood…and avoid the spraying antifreeze while doing so.
“I have no idea!”
“Why don’t you turn off the engine and join me in the cruiser so we can hear each other!?”
“Turn off the car!”
I turned off the car. As he turned his back to walk back to his squad car, I snuck out the passenger side door, so as not to raise more suspicion than necessary about the broken door by climbing out the window. I sat next to him in his warm, quiet car and he told me that he stopped me for “over accelerating” at the last intersection.
“I should write you up for over accelerating…but, I am not going to do that. In fact, I am not going to write you up for anything.”
“Sweet! I am off the hook,” I thought.
“I am, however, going to warn you. If I ever see this vehicle in town again, without these things fixed…I will have the car towed.”
I was dismissed. I walked back to my car…opened the passenger side door…with him watching…got in…crawled across to the driver seat and waited for him to leave. Then, I slid back across to the passenger side…got back out of my car…took the pliers that I kept on the dash…popped the hood…reached in…and started the car off of the solenoid.
That car needed some serious work. But then again, so do I…and so do you…and as we find in the Gospel of John chapter 21…so did Peter.
My dad and I have regularly enjoyed attending car shows together. It is remarkable and beautiful to see what some of these craftsmen have done to restore these classic automobiles. On a few occasions, I have even come across fully restored 1974 Novas. It is not a terribly collectible car, but when I look at the restored version, verses the one I owned in high school, it is an amazing contrast. I think that my Nova was in no way worth restoring. It was so dilapidated…and broken…and rusty…that it just wouldn’t have been worth it.
I am thankful, however, that Jesus does NOT look at me in the same way…nor does he look at you in the same way…nor did he look at Peter in the same way. In the John account, we find Jesus working in a very broken Simon Peter. Jesus does not condemn him…He does not say, “Sorry Peter, you blew it…you are too broken…it’s just not worth it…you are not worth it.” Rather, Jesus calls Peter, once again, to “Follow Me!”
Jesus sees us as worth restoring…that is amazing!