April 4, 2013

4.2 // I deserved the ticket

//Confession: I deserved the ticket.

In the darkness of the night, Taylor Swift blasting, I sang along belting out as if I was singing at the Grammy’s.“Cuz I knew you were trouble when you walked in, so shame on me now.  Flew me to places i'd never been... trouble! Trouble! Troubllllllllle!”  I approached the highway, and glanced in my rear view. And I saw them. Those lights you never want to see, blue and red, drawing closer to my rear.

Trouble. Crap. I’m in trouble.

I was speeding, I was sure of it (though not on purpose). I hadn’t been paying attention, which usually means I’m speeding. (Thanks for the lead foot dad.) I immediately regretted my nonchalant disregard for the obvious: a speed limit. My normal response would be tears. But this was one of those circumstances where I knew I was getting a ticket. This wasn’t going to be good.

The officer asked me, "do you know the speed limit on this road?"
My response: I’m gonna guess about 35?
His reply: Yes ma’am. You were going about 55.
My response: Wow, really? That’s unfortunate. I’m very sorry about that.
His reply: Yes ma’am, it is unfortunate, especially since we are doing speed enforcement this evening.

Everything he said indicated I was getting a ticket, and I knew it was deserved. I wasn’t going to try and fight it. I was going 20 miles over the speed limit at midnight; common sense tells me that’s breaking the law.

He came back, asked me for my current address and filled out what I assumed was the ticket. Then something very unexpected happened. The officer looked me in the eyes and said, “I am not going to give you a ticket this evening. You have a long drive home, just drive safe ma’am.”
I sort of stared at him for a second in shock. “Seriously? .... You just blessed me so much.” He laughed at me and nodded his head.

I drove away thanking God, but wondering what the heck just happened. I was in awe of how nice he was.  I tried to justify my actions, thinking, well I mean I really didn’t mean to speed. Regardless, I knew what I deserved.

When I really thought about it, it was grace at it's finest. Did I mention this was on Easter? That’s what really got me, it’s the perfect example of the cross. There are times in walking with God when my intention isn’t to sin but I find myself in a situation doing just that; going directly against what I know God desires for me. I know when I’m in the wrong.  But just like that officer, the cross gives me the second chance I don’t deserve.  Jesus walks up to me, looks me in the eyes and says I forgive you; you are free. Time and time and time again. The cross offers me unconditional grace. No tickets, no fees, no insurance increases. When my sinful nature takes over, I deserve punishment. The beauty of the cross is that if my heart is repentant, sin doesn’t win; grace wins. Everytime. Grace offers me an undeserved fresh start. It never ceases to amaze me.

 I saw grace in my rear view mirror.//

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