Every once in a while, when Janet and I are in the car, one of us spots a license plate that we find fascinating. Sometimes, you can tell that the person was trying to phonetically get some message across or, maybe, even spell out their first or last name. This isn’t new to us as we do a similar thing with our own license plates.
Probably the most memorable plate we ever saw was one dark night as we were returning from visiting my brother in Illinois and we were very tired. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a green Jeep passed us on this dark two lane road, with the license plate PS 9111. I immediately thought that it stood for Psalm 91:11 – a psalm that happens to be a psalm of safe passage for weary travelers. Events that unfolded later that evening as we continued our journey have led us both to believe in guardian angels and the fact that God was looking over us to protect us from harm – on a night that I was undoubtedly too tired to even be behind the wheel.
Rarely do we see license plates that could possibly represent Bible verses. They are quite rare. But last night, on our way to a Saturday evening church service, we happened to be behind a car that carried the Indiana plate Luke 128. I immediately thought that the plate meant that I was to reference Luke 12:8, but for some reason, I then thought about the possibility that it could be Luke 1:28. The only thing that I was sure of was that I knew it couldn’t be Luke 128. First of all, there aren’t 128 chapters in Luke and, on top of that, most plates include the chapter and verse that we are to reference. So, it had to be one of the first two options I mentioned.
It’s kind of like going on a treasure hunt. I coud hardly wait to look up the verses and see what message the owner was trying to give us. So, since we always keep a Bible in the car, I tried to look up the first reference at a stop light and found the following: Luke 12:8, “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.”
Really, this is quite a neat verse. Perhaps the driver was trying to encourage us to evangelize and proclaim the message of Jesus – letting us know that this would result in some heavenly acknowledgment. How cool is that! What an interesting way to share your faith – encouraging others to decipher your license plate.
But then, I thought that I should look up the other possibility, Luke 1:28, and this is what I found: Luke 1:28, “The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” This verse occurs in the story about Mary finding out that she will have a child and although Mary is initially troubled, the angel calms her and she rejoices at the news. The rest, as they say, is history. The story of the birth of Christ is familiar to all of us who celebrate His birth each Christmas.
As I reflected on the the verse, I thought about the possibility that the driver ahead of us wanted to send us a greeting, letting us know that God favored us and that the Lord was with us! Another unbelievably wonderful message to receive late in the afternoon on a Saturday.
So, whichever of these two messages we were destined to receive, we were blessed by receiving both of them. How wonderful to be reminded that as Christ followers, we are to acknowledge Jesus before others – and, moreover, that we are highly favored by God and that He is with us always, through the agency of the Holy Spirit.
My encouragement tonight is that the Lord has countless ways to get our attention and send us “reminders” of His love for us in quite unexpected ways. My prayer is that we will all be on the lookout for these messages hidden for us in plain sight. Because, when we find them, it is a little added bonus in our day – a moment when God smiles down on us and sends us a little surprise – just for us… Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…