Friday, March 23, 2012

A Car Wreck

Psalm 86:15
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness...

...Even when I wreck the car.
So, the lights were coming on in my car and kind of blinking and the battery light was on. It sounded like something was beeping, though that might have been the radio. And then, I looked up. And realized I was going 60 toward a stopped car. I swerved, I braked, I left some impressive skid marks on the road. I hit the car in front of me. I busted my head light and my hood and probably my radiator. I made our only car undrivable. Husbands, kiss your wives and thank them for not doing that yesterday!

Meika, our pit bull, was in the car with me. Neither she nor I nor the other driver, whose name I don't know, were hurt. His car was drivable. He called the police and roadside assistance and probably his insurance and never talked to me except to say that accidents happen and that's why we have insurance. Ben got a ride home from work and they stopped and picked Meika and I up on the way.

I asked the police officer how to get my ticket. He said, "What ticket?" I said, "Don't you get tickets when you cause accidents?!" He said, "No. That's why they're called accidents." He didn't even make me go to court or driving school. I was a little upset over that.

I was also upset that Ben wasn't mad. I let him down! I found another way to be late to get him from work and cost him our only mode of transportation. Why didn't he need time away? I knew it didn't change his love for me, but why didn't I at least have to earn back favor?! Why did that bother me so much?

Because I feel a very deep need to earn what I have. Ben loves me because I'm level-headed and reasonable and frugal. He loves me because I'm charming and cute and silly. I take care of the things that need to be done and love him back. That's favor I feel like I've earned. I deserve his love. When I mess that up, I should do something to make it right again. It can't just continue to be okay. I should have to face the consequences and work back to being okay. That's just!

But can it be that in reality, Ben loves me just because he does? That he likes all those things about me, but his love isn't earned?

I got a really clear picture of God's grace last night, after Chris dropped us off at home. I could feel grace in ways my brain could never understand on its own. You'd think it would be relieving, but in fact it was uncomfortable that I couldn't do anything to gain merit.  No dinner I could cook, no plans I could make, no excuse I could offer, could make my husband love me more than he already did. His unconditional love made my efforts fruitless. I hope you see the parallel between my meager offerings of "goodness" and Christ's promise of love and salvation.

And then we started to see God's faithfulness!
God has blessed us already with big weeks at work that mean we'll have some extra money. And Ben's parents felt led to send him a really generous birthday present for something we'd need in the future.

We emailed our church family and texted and called friends so I could get to work today. Within an hour, I had a ride. Within five more minutes, we had a ride to church on Sunday from another friend.

Then, Ben's brother-in-law and sister offered us their Trail Blazer. Brian said he'd been praying this week for someone to give it to. He's getting it fixed today so we can have it in a week or so, in case our Escort is too expensive to fix. We couldn't believe it. We were completely overwhelmed.

This morning while walking the dog, I ran into one of Ben's friends and told him what I'd done. He said they have an extra car, since his wife just had a baby and has been staying home. Just in case we need a loaner.

I just got off the phone with a new friend from church offering to drive me around tomorrow so I can run errands.

God, your forgiveness is one thing. It's enough that you're compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. But Oh, my God! You are so quick to take care of us in ways we couldn't have guessed! I did something foolish and you answered it by pouring out your blessing! Father, you amaze me.

Psalm 86:11
Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

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