Bob and Weave

Musings of an impostor. Welcome to the masquerade.

friends in high places

Posted by flyingbk on 12/01/2009

I live in Palisades Park, NJ. My church is in Old Tappan, NJ. Therefore, when I drive to church multiple times a week, I need to take the Palisades Interstate Parkway. Those who have traversed this highway know that the PIP is rife with speed traps, a fact that is heightened by the brutally low speed limit of 50 M.P.H.

I have driven on the PIP regularly since fall 2005; I attended seminary in Nyack, NY for 3 1/2 years. After receiving a couple speeding tickets because I usually went over 70 M.P.H., I resolved early last year to never again get caught for speeding. On the PIP, I would make sure to stay under 70 (which I determined is the cut-off that officers use in determining to pull you over). I also realized that driving fast simply is not worth it. You don’t even save that much time!

I am proud to say that since I made that resolution, I have not been written up for speeding. However, that previous sentence in lacking relevant information; there have been two instances in which I deserved to get a summons. Earlier this year, a cop pulled me over for doing 38 in a 25 (in residential Closter). And today, an interstate officer flashed his car’s lights, and pointed directly at me as I drove by him. My attempt to brake once I spotted him was too late, and I subsequently pulled over. 71 in a 50. I usually make an effort to stay in the high 60’s, but recently, I had gotten more lax and hovered over the magical 70 mark. I suppose this happens when you haven’t received a ticket in some time.

Obviously, I should have received a speeding ticket both times, with the exorbitant fines and crippling points that come with it. However, I have this friend. He’s an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, and he gave me a courtesy badge shortly after he took the job. I have now used this badge twice to get out of speeding tickets. Today, the officer actually noticed the badge as he asked me, “Where’d you get that?” Ah, that was a moment of glory. Once he inquired, I knew that at worst, he would write me a low-cost ticket that incurred no points.

Sure enough, after a short wait, he returned with a ticket that will only cost about $50 (and no points), instead of $200.  I thanked God for His mercy, and I texted my friend to let him know that I owe him dinner (I texted him after I parked my car, naturally).

I think there’s a parallel in today’s incident and the grace of God. Because I know a friend in a high place of authority, I am able to receive mercy and escape the stiff penalty that my transgressions merit. Because Jesus willingly went to the cross in my place, I receive eternal grace and forgiveness of sins. I will never bear the punishment that I undoubtedly deserve. Of course, the analogy is far from perfect; Jesus endured flogging, insults, loogies, a crown of thorns, and the torture of crucifixion. My friend endured three years of law school and the New York bar exam.

But the point remains. As today’s incident was unfolding, I asked God, “Why is this happening now? On the first day of December?!” Just last night, I was telling God about my failures and continued sense of disappointment in myself for how this year has gone. I believe that today, God responded: “My grace is sufficient for you, even in weakness.” Mercy triumphs over judgment, thanks to my friends in high places. Praise the Lord!

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2 Responses to “friends in high places”

  1. KL said

    I am learning a very painful lesson on grace these days… so yeah, i get it a little bit…

  2. chengham said

    i love that you tell the officers that you guys are brothers. brothers-in-christ! 🙂 let’s hang out soon!! we still need to take you out for your bday dinner.

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