A text informing you your son is in the hospital is not a recommended way to start your weekend. It’s made even less “great” when the hospital is on the other side of the state…about a four-hour drive. Throwing clothes in a suitcase, dropping the dogs off at the daughter’s place, and then hitting the highway. Phone calls, texts, and emails to make sure things are covered as we’re out of town. A few tears, a couple of hugs…and a lot of prayer…and we’re headed east. I won’t bore you with the details, he is doing much better now and was released today (Wednesday). In the hectic…and the not so hectic (sitting around a hospital can become boring…at least for me)…a bunch of things happen…this post is about one of those things…
(Oh, one other item…with everything stabilized and looking better we left Monday afternoon.)
Driving into work Tuesday morning was prayer time for me…somewhere during the prayer I thought about the parking pass we used. Odd thing to think about…but it started to make sense as it ricocheted around in my skull.
Our daughter-in-law purchased a pass that covered five exits and gave it to us when we got there. Leaving that night, we put in our initial parking ‘ticket’ we collected as we came in…then the screen popped up, “$15.00 due”…we inserted the prepaid pass, and the next thing we saw was…”Paid, thank you”. The gate went up, and we were free. We did that several times over the weekend, each time the cost was covered as we slid the second pass into the meter. As the memory bounced in my brain, it occurred to me, what a great example of what Jesus did/does for us, as believers. When it’s time to face the cost of our sin, He steps in and says it’s on me…paid in full…redeemed. Just as the parking pass covered our expenses for the parking…Jesus covered the price of sin – the gate goes up…freedom…Salvation.
We kept track of that credit card sized piece of thick paper…or maybe it was thin cardboard…either way, we kept it safe. We valued it, saw its worth…might be a stretch, but we worshipped the pass. Not the way you’re probably imagining…but recognized its value, giving thanks for it, and saw its importance to us…which is the root of worship. Just as we are to see the value in who God is, recognize His worth…and that God is worthy to be praised and thanked…held on to, held in a place of importance in our lives…Worship.
We were vocal in our gratitude, expressed how great it was…told other visitors about the gift we’d been given. Similar to what we’re called to do as followers of Christ…telling others about the gift of salvation, sharing the gospel, and the awesomeness of God…Evangelism.
When we got home Monday night, I found a parking receipt in my pocket…handed it over to Julie and joked – “Here’s a souvenir.” (I didn’t claim it was a funny joke, but we were tired enough to laugh.) As my time of reflection wrapped up (as was the morning commute), I saw a correlation with this action as well. How often have I become comfortable with my faith…put it on a shelf, a souvenir…since my immediate need fades away. On exhibit, but not used…at least until I have a situation, I need to have handled. I pay lip service, do just enough, God goes on display…Apathy.
A twinge of conviction at the reminder, followed by a smile. Prayer time had become a sermon…one that lifted my spirit through the Spirit. Peace settled over me, physically tired but spiritually recharged. I wonder if anyone thought I might be a little crazed as I sat at the stoplight, laughing. God using a scrap of paper as an object lesson…Joy.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. [Psalm 51:12 ESV]
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [Galatians 5:22 ESV]
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” [Hebrews 13:5-6 ESV]