I would say that I am a careful driver. I am attentive to road conditions and aware of traffic patterns. Red lights prompt me to stop and green lights send me on my way. I will yield, merge and right turn only whenever a sign so instructs or prohibits.
The exception to this diligent obedience is adhering to speed limits. If 40 MPH seems safe to me I don’t see why I should crawl along at 25 MPH if there is no school zone and no rationale for the decision. In fact, I find myself impatient with the occasional driver that gets in my way by taking these speed limit signs seriously.
But today I have a new perspective. Today I drove the speed limit. I watched for the sign, lined my speedometer to it and clicked the cruise control. Cars pulled up behind me, realized I was ignoring their attempts to get me moving faster and whipped around me.
Why did I change? It’s not because I was given a ticket. It’s not because I have had an accident. It’s not because I read a book or listened to a lecture. The change is simply a response to being loved.
A couple of days ago my “adopted” son rode with me as I ran an errand that required more than two hours of driving. He was quiet for almost a half hour and then commented that I had a lead foot. I agreed in a way that seemed I was almost proud of it. Before long he reminded me again of what the speed limit was and what my speed was registering. He made sure I noticed a half hidden police car.
It slowly sunk in that this younger man was concerned about my driving fast because he cared about me. As I processed his remarks I found them grounded in wisdom, some of which he has learned the hard way.
In the few years that I have known him we have developed a bond that can best be described as mother/son. During this time we have navigated some bumps in the road. Some times my visits to him have been in the County jail. Sometimes I have listened as a counselor, confronted as a parent, or encouraged as a pastor.
We are now in a new season where mother/son is the best descriptor of our relationship. Today he is the teacher and I am the learner. I am driving the speed limit today not because I think it is a good idea or even necessary. I am obeying because it is important to someone who loves me.
I wonder how often we rationalize God’s laws placing them under the authority of their making sense to us? Would it be easier to live in obedience if we did so simply because the One who wrote the laws loves us?
How do you decide when to be obedient and why?