Speeding ticket, courtroom, and two kingdom encounters.
I hate to admit that I got a speeding ticket, but I did. And I had to go to court today to pay the fine. While I was waiting in the courtroom, I sat between two guys on the back row because the courtroom was full. As I sat there, I was feeling the embarrassment of getting a speeding ticket and was just trying to keep to myself. Then I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me and say this is an opportunity to share the kingdom. I'm like, no way! I feel so embarrassed, and I'm guilty of speeding. How is this going to work? Then I had a picture about a knee and back issue. It was just a few minutes until the judge was supposed to come in, and I knew I had to make a decision to either follow the leading of the Holy Spirit or just keep to myself and sit in my shame and embarrassment. I looked at the guy to my left, and he had his head ducked down. I could tell he didn't want to be bothered. I looked over at the guy to my right, and I noticed he had crutches leaning up against the wall. So I thought I would just go for it. I said, "Hey, what happened to you?" He said he broke his ankle in a really bad work accident. He had pins inserted in it. My immediate thought was I had a picture about knee and back problems, not a broken ankle. But since I had already engaged the guy in conversation, I was going to go for it.
I asked him his name his name, and he replied Alberto. "Alberto, are you in pain?" I asked.
"Oh yeah. All the time."
"What's your pain level on a scale from one to ten?"
"Oh man, about a nine really."
"Well, Alberto, I'm in here because I was speeding, but I'm a follower of Jesus. Can I pray for you?" I thought, oh great! You look like a great follower of Jesus, sitting in court because you were speeding. But Alberto said he'd like prayer. So as I sat there next to Alberto in the court room, I quietly spoke to the pain and told it to go. "Alberto," I said, "move your foot." As he did, I asked what he felt. "lt's a 5 now."
"If it can go from a 9 to a 5, then the pain can go from 5 to 0."
He looked at me confidently as he said, "Yeah."
Then I added, "Alberto, you are going to feel a warmth and tingling go down your leg, and all the pain is going to leave." I quietly spoke to the pain and told it to go. "Alberto, what do you feel?"
"There is no more pain. It's all gone."
"Did you feel that warmth and tingling?"
"Yes, and all the pain is gone."
"Have you ever felt anything like that before?"
"Alberto, this was the love of Jesus for you."
About that time, a guy sat to the left of me between myself and the other guy who didn't want to be bothered. As soon as he sat down, I knew he was the guy with the knee and back problems that the Holy Spirit had spoken to me about. I wasn't sure where to begin with the small talk. I said, "Man, it's a packed courtroom today." He commented that he had been there for five hours, so I began to wonder how long this embarrassment would take. We were minutes from the judge's entrance, so I said, "You have lots of knee and back problems, don't you?" He sighed, "Oh yeah."
I introduced myself, and he said his name was Robert. "Robert, see this guy next to me? He broke his ankle and was in a lot of pain. I prayed for him and all his pain left. Can I pray for you?"
"Yes!!!" he replied. I asked him what his pain level was on a scale from 1 to 10. He said it was a 9.
I quietly spoke to his back, commanding the pain to leave. I asked, "Robert, what are you feeling in your back?"
"My back just went numb."
"Do you feel any more pain?"
"No, it just feels numb!"
At that time, the judge came in, and guess who he called first out of a packed court room--me! I approached the judge as he said, "How do you plea?"
"I'm guilty," I replied.
He looked at me and said, "This is a minor traffic offense. You don't need to worry about it. Just make sure you pay the fine by this date. You're free to go." The kingdom of God is at hand, even when you're sitting in a packed court room, guilty of speeding. Our job is to look, listen, and respond -- especially when you
are going 51 in a 40! LOL! But seriously, the kingdom of God is at hand no matter what or where.