I’m sure glad that I didn’t forever forfeit the privilege of driving when I made my first big mistake behind the wheel so many years ago.
Almost a year earlier, I was in the driver’s seat of a 1965 Ford Galaxie 500 station wagon after my mom had driven to Bloomington High School parking lot on a Sunday afternoon.
At 15 years old, this was a big deal for me. You remember how it was for you, I’m sure.
The last thing I wanted to do was to mess up and have my mom — or myself — think I wasn’t capable of driving.
I did fine steering through the empty parking lot and even backed into a couple of empty spots without error.
In fact, for the rest of my learner’s permit period and for six months after obtaining my regular driver’s license, I did just about everything right behind the wheel.
But then I messed up.
After school one day, I was stopped at the intersection of a side road and the main highway in front of the high school when a large truck wanted to pull onto the side street.
To accommodate the truck driver, I decided to back up. After all, I had checked the rear view mirror a few moments earlier and all was clear.
As soon as I backed up, I felt a bump.
All was not clear, as it turned out.
Just before my backing up, a VW van pulled from a driveway just behind my car and had stopped two feet from my rear bumper.
The driver shouldn’t have been that close to my car but that didn’t matter in the eyes of the law. And I knew it.
The van’s slightly concave front panel was my fault.
We exchanged insurance information and I drove home thinking about the double whammy of having to tell my parents that I messed up and that I’d have to arrange payments in order to compensate them for the insurance policy deductible that they’d have to pay.
It was not a happy drive.
Fortunately, my parents, the insurance company and the Indiana Division of Motor Vehicles did not permanently ban me from driving.
They realized that people make mistakes. Yes, errant drivers are to be accountable for their mistakes, but the privilege of driving can continue as long as people are attempting to be responsible drivers.
It’s all about grace shown toward those incapable of endless perfection.
I share this personal story because of a passage in today’s reading from the One-Year Bible.
“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin… If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:7, 9)
I’ve messed up many more times behind the steering wheel of my life than I have behind the steering wheel of a vehicle. That’s why I’m so glad that God offers grace to me when I seek it.
I don’t want to stay in the ditch or wrapped around a tree after those moments of self-will. Hallelujah that my Lord promises to rescue me and restore me when I eat crow and seek Him.
Please, dear friend, don’t take the grace of God for granted.
Please treasure the fact that God allows you to continue down the road of life, enjoying its good moments and enduring its bad moments.
As long as you remember that your place on that road is a privilege that comes with a larger, Kingdom-building purpose, you’ll get to your destination.
And then you’ll be on golden streets where everybody is equipped with endless perfection, including you.
As always, I love you