Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The State of California is on Your Side

When I was less than 16 years old and after obtaining my drivers license early, I was involved in a major traffic accident involving two fatalities. I was driving on a main highway, and a lady, driving a car full of other women who had been working in the vineyards, ran a stop sign directly in front of me. I was driving about 55 mph with no way to avoid her. At impact, I lost most of my teeth, a good friend with me went through the windshield, and was almost killed. He panicked and ran from the accident scene. I ran after him and was able to tackle him a half a block away from the accident. No one helped me care for him because in those days people were sued for helping. I took off my shirt and wrapped it around his head wound which was bleeding profusely. When the ambulance finally came, I was bare-chested and covered with blood. I held my friend’s pressure points all the way to the hospital.

You can imagine the scene when I was in the waiting room as the medical staff took care of those seriously injured. I had no shirt, was scared, had thoughts of what had happened and didn’t know if my friend would die. There was blood everywhere. I knew already that others had died. My step-father’s car was totaled, and I knew the wrath of others would be upon me being a teenager driver.

About this time, a state patrolman walked in to the waiting room. He was an impressive figure, well over six feet in height. I always remember how he approached me, took off his hat, and asked if I was Doug Nichols. He sat down next to me, put his arm around me, and said, “Young man, I know you are very frightened. I have thoroughly investigated the scene of the accident, and want you to know that you are not in the wrong. People will be angry with you because you are a teenager, and there are several deaths, but I want you to know that you did everything right. Remember one thing, the State of California is on your side!”

My mother arrived soon afterward crying, and my step-father swore in anger at the loss of his car. Others were crying and screaming, and yet this state patrolman continued to sit with his arm around me.

What a great testimony of a public official, especially his example to us as Christian believers in our care of others even if they are in the wrong or thought to be in the wrong! The world is filled with people who are fearful, uncertain, and filled with pain. You and I as believers can put our arms around them and say something much greater than “The State of California is on your side.” We can say, “God is here, and He will care for you.”

“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7, nasb) ministering to people the grace and the peace of God through His Son Christ Jesus.

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