I pull up to the intersection, thankful that the long line of traffic in front of me is slowing me down when I spot that stealthy police car parked in the convenience store lot, just waiting to nail someone. Thankfully it wasn’t me. The light turns green. I go. But so does the police car, pulls right out behind me and follows me through the intersection. I try to stay on my best behavior. A few yards past the intersection I see the lights, hear the siren, and pull over for the police car to pass me and start its high speed chase for whoever it’s after. Then comes the sinking in my gut as I realize he’s pulling over too. What?! There is no WAY I was speeding!
“Can I get you to pull into that parking lot up there?”
“Yes, officer, but can you tell me what’s wrong?”
“Your registration isn’t up to date.”
Oh, dear! The registration that had come due 8 months previous on my husband’s birthday? The registration he faithfully renews online every year? I couldn’t believe it!
“That blue sticker sticks out like a sore thumb to us,” he says. Eight months! He couldn’t help but give me a ticket. (A whopping $325 later we are now legal on the road again.)
My seven year old daughter couldn’t understand why they had to charge us so much money. “Daddy just forgot!” she innocently pointed out to me today as we were talking about it. “Yes, but that is no excuse in the eyes of the law!” I told her. Then it hit me. That feeling of sitting there before the officer, completely without excuse. There was nothing I could say, nothing I could do. No matter that my husband is one of the most conscientious people I know. No matter that he had been traveling across country twice last November for work. No matter that he has never missed renewing it in the past. I could have strewn together any number of excuses, but in that moment, I knew better. I knew we were guilty, and any excuse was too feeble to outweigh that!
Of course my thoughts turned to the cross, to the completely undeserved mercy of my God! I stand before Him, guilty, without even one excuse that could defy His holiness and justice. There is no way out! I am helpless! Except that He loved me so much that HE found a way! He found a way to take that punishment and penalty Himself so I could stand forgiven. Why does it feel like so long since I have marveled at His grace? How is it that the exhilaration of being pardoned can fade over time? So thankful this week that I don’t have to make excuses! I don’t bear the burden of justifying my way out of judgment. In the end, there is no excuse that will prevail for any of us. All of those reasons that hold us back from surrender will be revealed for the impotent, hollow evasions they are. Our ONLY hope is to fall on Jesus! He found the way, made the way. HE IS THE WAY! Thankful doesn’t even begin to describe what I feel for my Saviour today!
This song – can’t get it out of my head. Well worth a listen if you have a moment…