I was just on Facebook where I discovered this wonderful story from a young man that I have known since he was born. It makes me smile to think he has grown up to have God in his heart and life and is able to understand the lessons put in front of us.
I hope you enjoy the story as much as I did….
One Day Pass
By William L. Hillhouse
(disclaimer: these are my thoughts. I am in no way as good a writer as I wish I could be)
What will you do to listen to a Missionary?
When I purchased the four dollar One day pass from the bus driver of the 59 OC transit bus, I
would never have guessed what kind of adventure I was stepping into. I realized I was going to
be on an adventure the moment I found directions to get me from the University of California
in Irvine to the Alliance Town and Country retirement complex in Santa Ana. Before I can dive
into my adventure, I have to first explain where I am coming from.
Anyone who knows me, would probably recognize that I come from a middle class family of
wonderful parents and my favorite older sister, but if you were to ask that person what they
know about me, they would most likely respond with one of two things. I’ve heard people call
me weird, but that’s normal–aren’t all Computer Engineering majors weird? However, my closer
friends know that I am a firm believer in Jesus Christ and that I stand as a witness to the
world with the job of illuminating the message of the cross. So, naturally, although this is a
story about how a normal school day turned into an adventure with a bus pass, I hope to make
it clear that God was and is at work in my life on that day as well as every day I choose to
submit to his plan.
Today’s verse just so happened to be, “For they all seek after their own interests, not those
of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:21).
I can already see this verse applying, but I’ve got a story to tell!
One day, passing over my emails, I stumbled upon one of the weekly messages from Kairos (Greek
word meaning “Appointed time” or “Season”–Used to describe a college and courier ministries
group back at my home church.) Being that it was “mission’s week” at my church, Kairos
Ministries was taking a trip to the Alliance Town and Country Manor to give retired
missionaries (I do not like the word “retired” because it suggests that the work of spreading
the gospel stops once you reach a certain age when in fact it does not.) a chance to share
their overseas-mission stories to young lively college students. It’s obvious to me that God
put it on my heart to attend this event. This was an opportunity for me to be encouraged by
older and wiser people who have been in my shoes before–people who have been successful
college Students wondering what to do with their lives.
However, something, rather, someone did not want me there. My journey was met with much
opposition. My opposition found it convenient to make sure that I wouldn’t have a way of
getting to T&C by car. It also laughed at me while I raced against time to get to the bus stop
by 5:49pm and failed. It tried to make me feel defeated the whole time I waited for the 6:24pm
bus, which didn’t end up leaving until about 6:30pm. Finally, if it wasn’t enough to be over
45min late, my opposition took final measures to have me cited as I was trying to race my way
through the park on my skateboard.
But hey, I got to my destination right?
I recalled Peggy D. say, “Delay’s are not denials. Victories are wrapped up in struggles.”
After a rewarding evening with the Missionaries at T&C, I got taken aside and told that I
needed to fight the citation. I agreed knowing that it would be a good experience…
so… the court date was March 2th, 2011 at 2pm. I sat waiting in anticipation. I had done a
lot to prepare my defense against this officer who had so falsely written me the citation. I
had maps, photos, receipts, directions, and the municipal code under which I was being accused
of wrong. I had it all together thanks to my parents helping me to be fully prepared. Still, I
had no idea how I was going to defend myself against this officer who had probably been
arguing cases his whole career as an officer.
Finally the officer called us (My dad was with me) in. While directing us to the room where
the hearing would be, he mentioned that although he had good new, we would still have to have
the hearing. It’s amazing how even being innocent, I felt like I was guilty because I was
walking beside someone who stood for justice. Here I was next to someone who’s had the power
to decided whether I would be innocent or guilty. After all, the judge would certainly not be
impressed by my defense.
When I sat down at the table, I sat across from the judge with the officer on my left. The
judge swore us in that we should tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me
God. Then the judge asked for my story. Immediately, I became flustered and could only but
stutter through my situation. I realized half way through that I was a fool for trying to
defend my case even though I knew I was innocent because I couldn’t get my words across very
well. The judge only made me look worse by asking, “Well, wasn’t it dark? Isn’t that a bad
time to be walking through a park?” My only answer was, “Well, yeah…” At that time, the
officer broke through with his side of the story. “This is it…” I thought, as I watched my
opportunity to defend myself fly by.
However, instead of worrying, I was captivated by how well he spoke. He described the
situation as if he had rehearsed his story several times before. He said things like, “I was
headed eastbound through Santiago Park at 19:00 on horseback” and, “I met William coming
westward from the archery range at the east entrance of the Nature center at 19:30.” I was
truly impressed by his ability to clearly dictate the events of that evening. He continued,
“Signs were posted requiring that all persons be cited if found in the park after dusk. Thus
the reason for citing William. However, it has occurred to me that although the sign is clearly
marked at the west entrance of the park, it is not visible at the east entrance, and so I
would like to ask that you drop all charges.”
Speechless! “Only by the grace of God,” I thought.
The judge turned his attention to me again asking whether I was ok with the decision.
“Absolutely,” I replied.
I could not believe it! Here I was loosing respect for an officer who would cite me for being
on my way to a retirement home! Here I was preparing myself a defense against this officer.
There I was stumbling through my defense. There I was speechless to be defended by the officer!
I cannot help but think and know that I have experienced a small piece of God’s grace. Imagine
an officer, who was supposed to be my enemy, defending my case! Now imagine Jesus, the Savior
of the world defending me before God the Father on judgment day when I am supposed to be
guilty! Unfathomable! I was jumping for joy to have been innocent and proven innocent. I can’t
imagine being guilty and proven innocent! Ephesians 2:8-9 –“For by grace you have been saved
through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God not of works lest anyone should
~A thing to be remembered~
(other goodnesses of God surounding the events)
-Found three dollars on the ground part of which covered the parking fee at the Santa Ana Police Depot.
-Got a voicemail during the hearing from SkyWorks inc. concerning a year round paid student internship. (waiting to hear back from them)
(second disclaimer: feel free to share this story of God’s grace!)