Some amazing things happened on this day in history. On May 23, 2013 an EF5 tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma, killing 24 people. In 1989 Chinese authorities declared martial law, setting off the Tiananmen Square massacre. In 1983 the U.S. had its first AIDS diagnosis. In 1932 Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland on the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic by a female pilot. In 1920 a radio station in Montreal produced the first broadcast in North America. In 1916, 1917, and 1918 the town of Codell, Kansas was hit by tornados. In 1902 Cuba gained independence from the U.S. But all of that pales in comparison to the event of May 20, 1899. The place was New York City. Taxi driver Jacob German was arrested. The crime? Speeding. Mr. German was ticketed for racing down Lexington Street at an amazing 12 miles per hour. Yes, you read that right. He was driving 12 miles per hour.
I’ll say it for you. Times have changed! I can’t imagine a world that moves so slowly that 12 miles per hour would be considered illegal. But maybe that wasn’t so bad. Think about it like this. At the legal speed limit of 5 miles per hour, it would take 50 days to drive from New York to Los Angeles, driving 10 hours a day. So guess what happened in 1899? People didn’t drive across the country, or even the state. Eighty percent of the people never traveled more than 50 miles from where they were born. So guess what that meant? Neighbors knew each other. People watched after each other. Crime was low, people stayed married, folks went to church, and they did life together. In 1899 everyone knew his neighbor. The other day, I was walking my dog. Passing a neighbor, I waved and said “Good morning.” He snarled at me and just kept walking. We live life too fast. We cook in a microwave, drive in the fast lane, and eat fast food. I take you back to the words of Scripture. The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God.” It never says “Speed up and know that I am God.” You and I have a choice. We can speed along life like the taxi drive of 1899. Or we can slow down, experience God, and experience life. May 20 is an interesting date in history. Make it your day in history – today. Slow down. Be still. Experience God.