June 4, 2011

Texting and Dying

It seems that the more I learn about the plan of salvation, the more I realize I have yet to understand. Once upon a time I had heard the story of Calvary so many times I knew all about it, and got rather tired of hearing it again and again and again… But now it seems I keep having these “So THAT’s why Jesus died” moments where the beauty and love of the Cross overwhelm me again…
Like the other week…
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Sitting by the side of the road in my little Honda, watching the syncopated flashing of blue lights in my rear-view mirror with a sick feeling…my excuses looked pretty sorry…
Somehow it didn’t seem to matter anymore that that all-important text message wouldn’t get sent before I drove out of signal. Somehow it didn’t matter that I was going to be late for work, and all of a sudden it was very obvious that Mountain Road was NOT such a small, untraveled road after all, and it very much DID matter whether or not I paid attention while I was driving it.
Now I was sunk. I don’t even have enough money in my bank account to pretend to pay a ticket right now… Father, you know as well as I do that I royally deserve this… But you don’t… You know where my money has gone and why there isn’t any more coming in any time soon… Forgive me…..  show me the best way to responsibly take care of it…Maybe I can sell my car…my license will probably be revoked for 60,000,000 months anyways, so who needs a car? Maybe I can offer to scrub the floor of the Amity City Hall with a toothbrush… Maybe I can take a loan from my rich sister… ARGH!!! WHY ON EARTH was I texting anyways??? Wait…no….I WON’T worry about it….My Father’s in charge… If He needs to teach me a lesson, He will provide a way to do it…
As the officer approached, I knew there was only one honest thing to do.
“I don’t have anything to say for myself.” I blurted before he had a chance to open his mouth.
His eyes were impossible to read behind dark sunglasses, but his mouth seemed to twitch in disgust..or was it amusement?
“What was going ON??!!” No doubt he wondered! It’s not every day a random car almost sails broadside into the side of your beautiful brand-new Dodge Charger and then swerves all over the road over-correcting her own over-correcting…
“I was texting…..”
He shook his head incredulously. “Texting.” It sounded like he was spitting the word on the ground like chewed tobacco. “You know, that’s just so funny because I was just coming back from giving a talk at the high school about texting and driving. You know it’s illegal here in Arkansas, don’t you? You got your drivers license?”
“Uhm…well….no. I guess I didn’t bring it today.” Why do I always think, “Oh I won’t need it, I’ll never get stopped on Mountain Road?” Even if he did decide to just give me a warning for texting, there’s no way I’ll get away with driving with no license…
The corners of his mouth were twitching hard, almost as though he were maybe trying to swallow a laugh…? Maybe??
He looked over my vehicle registration, asked a few questions about who I was, where I went to school, and then, mercifully, got to the point.
“You know it’s going to look pretty bad when I go tell the prosecuting attorney you almost had a head-on with the sheriff, don’t you?”
Affirmative…
“So how about this… You promise that you’ll never text while you’re driving again?”
Definite affirmative! Believe me, I’m not EVEN tempted…
“Ok, good. Then I’ll promise not to tell anybody.”
Are. You. Serious? It took all the dignified restraint I could muster to merely shake his hand when I desperately wanted to give him the biggest bear hug a 5’2” girl can give… Thank you… “You shouldn't do that...I don’t deserve that.” I told him.
“Nah, don’t worry about it.” He grinned. “Just don’t break your promise, ‘cause there’s no mercy next time.”

Lord? Why?? Why did you give me mercy when I didn’t deserve it? When I had deliberately ignored your impressions to just put the stupid phone away…When I made You look bad by my irresponsibility… You should have let me suffer the consequences…No really, I’m serious…You should have…
But He didn’t, because He all-wisely knew that sometimes unmerited love teaches the strongest lessons. Sometimes forgiveness breaks the hardest, most self-sufficient hearts. Sometimes accepting grace is the hardest punishment a proud soul can bear. And the results are so much longer lasting. No speeding ticket I have ever paid for has kept me driving below the speed limit for more than six months…but believe me, I can’t even imagine texting and driving again after receiving that kind of grace for it. It would be like slapping Him in the face.

So THAT’s why Jesus died!
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15

2 comments:

  1. Wow! That's a beautiful picture of grace! Thanks for sharing it. I had a similar experience once, but I wasn't texting... just speeding way over the speed limit and I had no excuse. I was given grace... I didn't have money to pay for a ticket at the time, and I prayed and God answered... He's so amazing!

    P.S. Another thing in common! You're short like I am! :D

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  2. I love this. Such a beautiful real-life illustration of God's love. I've experienced similar grace too... As a little girl I hated seatbelts. After being pulled up and given grace, I no longer had to force myself to put the seatbelt on. I wanted to. Because of grace.

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