This is another one of those posts that I really don’t want to write, but the analogy to my salvation through Jesus Christ is too profound to keep quiet.
I consider myself a safe driver. I was one of those that wasn’t really anxious to get my learners permit the day I turned 15. I think I was around 17 years old when I got my drivers license. Since the girls came along, I’ve taken even more precautions to drive safely. And I prided myself in the fact that I had never gotten a speeding ticket in 15 years of driving. Because, as a general rule, I don’t speed.
Can you see where this post is going?
One afternoon nearly one year ago (yes, it’s taken me one whole year to hit the publish button on this one!), I was headed to the Crisis Pregnancy Center for my weekly volunteer shift. I was driving along in my own little world. Driving to the CPC is one of the only times I am driving alone without the sound track of two little girls in the background talking my ear off or requesting particular songs on their CDs we listen to while in the car. I often find myself deep in thought on my trips to the CPC because the car is quiet. Often times I even turn the radio off completely so I can pray for my shift and that God would bring women to the clinic that day that we could minister to.
So there I was driving along when I got over the hill I drive over to get to CPC and there is a cop car sitting at the bottom. I did what every person does subconsciously whether you are speeding or not. I put my breaks on and then put them on even further when I saw the light ahead of me was turning red.
And then I stopped at the light. The cop was stopped too on the side of the road where he had been at the bottom of the hill. I could have waved to him.
The light turned green and traffic started moving again. In my rear view mirror I noticed the cop had pulled out. I continued driving along and so did the cop.
Out of nowhere, I see the cop behind me with his lights flashing. I looked around to see who he was trying to pull over.
And then, I realized it was ME he was after! I always imagined if I were to be pulled over, my heart would be beating out of my chest, but I was still in “cruise mode” in my own little world and my heart was still beating normally.
I pulled over and the cop came to my window and asked I assume what every cop asks when they pull someone over, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”.
I answered honestly. “No, sir, I do not.”
“I clocked you going 62mph. Do you know what the speed limit is on this road?”
I didn’t know so I guessed, “55mph….or maybe 45mph.”
He said, “45mph” and I began praying for mercy in that moment because that is 17mph over the speed limit. Oops.
He asked for my license and car insurance and then headed back to his cop car.
I started thinking, Surely he will give me a warning! I have NO RECORD whatsoever and I am 32 years old. That is 15 years of driving. I saw him look in the back seat so he saw I am a mom to two little kids. I am dressed nice! AND – I am on my way to the Crisis Pregnancy Center to volunteer for crying out loud! Yes, he will just give me a warning! Surely he will!
And so I sat there waiting for my fate and praying I would be extended mercy, once again.
When he approached my car he had this yellow slip of paper in his hand and said, “Mam, I am going to give you a ticket today, but I am going to say you were going 55mph instead of what I clocked you at. It’s the least expensive ticket I can give you.”
Mercy? Um, I guess so. However, not exactly the mercy I was hoping and praying for in those moments!
He got in his cop car and drove away and I just sat there SO ANGRY. My first reaction was to figure out what I could do to get this ticket OFF MY RECORD and to not have to pay the fine!
And then it dawned on me.
I was given what I deserve.
I was speeding. The speed limit was 45mph, I was going 62mph and therefore, I was breaking the law. The consequence for speeding is a ticket.
I left that parking lot with the yellow ticket sitting there on the seat next to me because that is what I deserved.
Once my anger subsided and I could think clearly again, it hit me like a ton of bricks that as a sinner who deserves eternal death as payment for my sins, I am not getting what I deserve!!
Instead of getting what I deserve, I have been given mercy, grace, forgiveness and salvation.
Through Jesus Christ’s death on a cross that paid for mankind’s sins – past, present and future – I have eternal life through Jesus Christ my Savior.
Then I started thinking about how I was hoping all those circumstances would help the cop give me mercy. Because I was on the way to volunteer my time at a Crisis Pregnancy Center and I had a clean record with no previous speeding tickets, that should be enough for him to not give me a ticket, right?
Wrong. I got what I deserved on the side of the road and I have received eternal life through nothing that I did. God didn’t require me to attend church regularly, tithe and do good to others at least 5 times a week to earn salvation.
No, in his great love for me, and while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me and paid the price for my sins. It is the ultimate picture of redemption and mercy and nothing that I earned or deserved to call mine.
While I did not receive the kind of mercy I was desperately hoping for that fateful day, I am thankful for that ticket. Strange thing to say, I know.
That ticket painted an even clearer picture for me of the work Jesus Christ did for me through his death on the cross and resurrection three days later.
I am thankful that where it counts, I did not get what I deserve.