To make ends meet, I supplement our family income by driving a school bus for the local public school system. I finished training late last year and have a CDL B license with most of the ‘bells and whistles’ and all of the extra responsibility. For the last couple months I have been a regular substitute, but have recently inherited a route.
Typically, I am out of bed at 4:30 a.m. and in the lot warming up my bus by 5:25. Roll at 5:43 so I can hit my first stop at 6:08. Have them at school at 7:25 and park the bus back at the main terminal by 7:45. The afternoon begins around 1:50 and I get home by 5 o’clockish.
My route is very specific with particular procedures at every single stop, particular timing parameters and safety actions. Add the constant attention to students in establishing and maintaining discipline and safety for 50+ grade schoolers, and it is a recipe for myriad problems.
Over my head as well as midway back on the bus are cameras that capture audio and video. They are connected to an on-board GPS connected computer that tracks speed and location as well as every switch I throw and action I do.
When I first began the job, that camera bugged me. There was so much going on in the bus as well as the driver’s responsibilities that I knew it was recording everytime I failed proper procedures at stops, or activated/deactivated lights at the wrong times… Or, even failed to activate. It is merciless in that the video/data doesn’t lie.
I knew it ‘saw’/recorded every violation of protocol. Lack of familiarity with routes and students compounded every problem, and the camera would silently get it all. On a couple occasions, it evidenced me being in the right, contrary to a parent’s complaints, but for the most part, it was an object of fear.
Today, being my 8th or 9th day on my permanent route, I know most of my student’s names and have the route down well enough that I can start focusing on the details in order to do my very best and insure the safety of my little passengers. As I drove this morning, I started pondering that camera.
That camera is neutral. It is not my judge. It can be my friend or it can be my enemy. The camera doesn’t ‘change,’ it just ‘is.’
The camera is much like the Torah, or Law. The Torah is neutral. It is always there. It is not my judge, and it can be friend or enemy.
The Torah is a standard against which we are constantly measured. It is doesn’t change, it just ‘is.’ Data is collected that goes to the Judge as evidence. We have done, or have NOT done what we are supposed to do. No ‘ifs,’ ‘ands,’ or ‘buts.’
Once I was practiced and comfortable enough to do what I am supposed to do on my route, the camera was not a concern. I have/had nothing to ‘fear.’ In fact, when things, as they sometimes do, get ‘interesting’ on the bus (I can already tell a story or two…), the camera has collected enough that I can ask my supervisor to review the film as support.
The Torah is much the same. As we learn what we are supposed to do, and willingly do it, then it becomes less of a concern and functions as a guardrail against going off the tracks. Only when we knowingly or unknowingly break the Torah, or Law, should we fear it because it now stands against us!
If we are rebellious and do not like the standard of the Torah, then we have reason to hate it or try to ‘do away with it.’ Why? It reveals our stiff-necks and rebellious hearts.
Yeshua said, speaking of ‘Moses’ as a euphemism for Torah,
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
The Torah is the standard against which we are measured. Yes, there is grace in Messiah, but willful sin, walking contrary to Torah with a stiff neck, will lead to judgment. We talked about that just the other day.
As I drive, I remember that camera often. It is a reminder that I am accountable for every single action and word. In like manner, we should daily remember the Torah as it is ‘ever present’ and is the unchanging standard against which we will be judged.