It was a beautiful morning. Indeed, it was the first warm and sunny day of the year — March 18, 2003, unlike the March we had this year. It was also my day off, so after dropping my son and his friends at high school for a badminton tournament, I drove through to the tennis court to see if it was ready for use. Sure enough, the court looked great, and I immediately headed home to get myself changed and bring my basket of tennis balls to practice my serve.
On my way home, I heard Louis Armstrong singing that lovely tune, "What a wonderful world" on the radio. I hummed along and cheerfully said, "Right on, Louis! Sing it out loud, for it sure is a wonderful world and a perfect day for tennis!" I must have been so mesmerized by Armstrong's beautiful, husky singing voice with that great number that I forgot what I was doing. No sooner had I sung along a few lines than I heard the siren of the police car behind me. What's wrong? What's happening? I pulled over. A female police officer approached me. I asked her what seemed to be the problem. She said, "You were driving 75 kilometres an hour in a 50 kilometre-per-hour zone. Can I have your licence, please?" No kidding? I handed it to her, and while she was writing the ticket in her car, I heard Louis Armstrong still singing, "What a wonderful world".
"Be quiet, Louis," I said out of my anger. I was in no mood to enjoy the song any longer. The officer returned and handed me the ticket with a $118.73 fine. The world suddenly turned grey and was not so wonderful any more. But what's so ironic about that day was that Armstrong's voice, singing, "What a wonderful world", kept ringing in my ear for the rest of the day. I could not understand why I couldn't get that tune out of my mind. As I thought it over during the day, something dawned on me. Could it be God telling me through Armstrong that the world is still wonderful even if I got a speeding ticket? The more I pondered, the more the song began to make sense to me. Armstrong seemed to tell me, "Andrew, God wants to say hello to you and to tell you that He loves you through that police officer, because the world is wonderful if you play by the rules. That speeding ticket is just a way of reminding you that you are His child and that you should always behave like one. It is out of His love that He corrects you." The Bible says it well:
Hebrews 12:5b-6 – My child, pay attention when the Lord corrects you, and do not be discouraged when he rebukes you. Because the Lord corrects everyone he loves, and punishes everyone he accepts as a child. (GNB)
Surely, this world would be wonderful if everyone in the world would behave. But sometimes we misbehave either intentionally or unintentionally. The truth is that we all need to be reminded how to behave.
Behaving, to me, arises out of the attitude that Armstrong had in his song: seeing the world with an eye of gratefulness, appreciating green trees and red roses blooming, perceiving the beauty of the world, being thankful for love expressed through friends shaking hands, and in my case, welcoming God's discipline through the speeding ticket for the sake of making me a better person.
Prayer: Dear God, we thank You for treating us as Your children, and like children, we need Your constant discipline. Give us the courage to accept Your correction, especially when we tend to be led astray, and enable us to appreciate it, since You do it out of Your love. Help us always to enjoy the things around us, and bless us with the ability to see the wonderful world we live in. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.