A week or so ago we had an interesting occurrence at the Reading Interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. An oversize or what the Turnpike refers to as a Class 9 vehicle, was attempting to enter the Turnpike through one of our regular lanes designated for EZ-Pass only traffic. A special Turnpike permit is required for overweight and over-dimensional vehicles to gain access and such vehicles must enter and exit through larger designated lanes. For example, the transport of cement barriers is a common Class 9 occurrence at our Interchange. We use wide lanes without scales to put on and take off such vehicles. If the entire vehicle length including barrier exceeds 85 feet it is identified as a “Class 9”. Likewise, overweight vehicles (in excess of 125,000 pounds), overheight vehicles (in excess of 13 feet 6 inches) and overwidth vehicles (in excess of 10 feet wide) also require Turnpike Class 9 permits to gain legal entry and must use the specified lanes..
Now that you have an idea what the term Class 9 is, I will continue recounting this Toll Booth Tale:
That morning the mist rolled in thicker than usual for this time of year. It crept eerily across the lanes as I sipped on some steaming java from my thermos. My morning somnolence ended when a shrill back-up beeper startled me. I turned to see an over-size vehicle backing out of an EZ Pass entry lane. An adrenaline surge pumped my blood into overdrive sending me across the lanes to halt this extremely dangerous and foolish maneuver.
Yelling and waving my arms like a crazed orangutan are not included in my job description but every now and then that skill set pays off. Fortunately it was effective in this instance and the driver stopped in the middle of our dedicated EZ Pass lane.
To cut to the chase, the over-width vehicle was stuck in our lane and impeding oncoming EZ Pass traffic entry to the Turnpike. I called for back-up and explained to the driver the predicament he caused and that he must wait for Turnpike personnel to help him out of the lane.
Within minutes the First Responder/Safety Patrol arrived and shortly thereafter a State Trooper. The dilemma: Should the truck move forward or backward to exit the lane? The driver was in jeopardy of causing Turnpike property damage as well as damage to his truck. The truck was wedged in so tight that the trooper and safety patrol together took over an hour to figure out how to safely remove the truck from the lane. They moved it a few feet forward. Then they tried a few feet backward. Cooperation, time and effort got the truck safely unwedged and on its way in the right direction.
Now I must say, the driver experienced all this trouble because he simply did not pay attention. His company issued specific directions to him for the routes he was to follow. The directions to his final destination did not include the Turnpike. So why didn’t he pay attention to his instructions? Why did he try to enter the Turnpike illegally? Was he stubborn, lazy, prideful? Only he can say.
The truck driver needed help to move in the right direction. On his own he could easily have moved the wrong way and caused himself and others a lot of costly damage. But to move successfully in the right direction he needed several things. Things we need when we are stuck. When we fail to follow instructions:
- Determination- to choose the right direction; defeating the sin of stubbornness. ( See Jeremiah 7:24)
- Humility- to receive help and support; defeating the sin of pride. (See Proverbs 16:5)
- Effort- to work at putting the determined plan into action; defeating the sin of laziness. (See Proverbs 6:6)
- Time- to give to the endeavor; defeating the sin of procrastination. (See Ecclesiastes 11:4)
Do we see any parallels between ourselves and the trucker? We can get into trouble quite easily without any assistance. But we need fellow believers to help us get out of jams or slumps or sin that we, even as devoted Christ followers, experience. No one wants to admit it when we do stupid things that easily could have been avoided had we followed the directions. If we deny that we get ourselves into these negative predicaments we are not facing the truth. As I John 1:8 states “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” New Living translation
We need to pay attention to our motives and follow the instructions given to us in the Bible if we want to FLURISH at all in this life. Let that sink in. Don’t wait until you are stuck in a precarious situation. Pay attention now.
Shine on. . .