Locals know that the title indicates the names of three streets, West Yale Avenue running east and west between Wadsworth and Sheridan Boulevards. The church building is nearly halfway between the boulevards at the corner of South Lamar Street. I drive that route daily, trying faithfully to observe the 30 MPH speed limit sign that is rigorously monitored by local law enforcement. The cynic would say this stretch of road is a speed trap. Those who have been ticketed on said stretch must reflect, ponder, and pray before talking about it. Today, though, as I saw yet another poor sap pulled over by our men in blue, I thought about a few things.
First, that speed limit sign is clearly posted multiple times down that two mile span of road. We are accustomed to not only a “speed grace” level, but we often find ourselves trying to drive as quickly as driving conditions will allow. Those who think this way on Yale between Wadsworth and Sheridan are often surprised at how literally the police take that sign.
Also, despite how regularly Yale is patrolled here, people continue to get livid with you if you drive no more than the speed limit. You think to yourself, “Don’t they know that Barney might be just behind that sign at the apartment complex!” You may feel some measure of satisfaction if you’re lucky enough to see the guy in the sports car rip past you and into the waiting arms of the man holding the radar gun. Despite how well-known this area is for nabbing those criminals going 33 or 34, people continue to be caught on a regular basis (doing 45, 50 or more).
Finally, it is tempting to blame the police officer or the government he serves and the law he seeks to enforce. It wasn’t the officer breaking the law, it was you (and of course the five other guys going faster than you that the officer totally ignored to give you a ticket). Never mind that he doesn’t pull over the people who are driving the speed limit (unless their registration is out of date). He is a symbol of the law. He’s the messenger. But, he’s who we can see when we’re waiting for that slip of paper with payment options on it.
How closely that mirrors life! We know that there is a law in place (Gal. 6:2; Rom. 8:2; Js. 1:25). It is tempered by grace (Eph. 2:8), but some abuse grace (Rom. 6:1-2; Jude 4). They refuse to submit to or take Christ’s will seriously. And, how often will we find ourselves the object of others’ scorn, those mad at us for trying to follow what He says (cf. 1 Pet. 3:16; 4:4)? Of course, we should not take satisfaction in the thought of the judgment that awaits the lost, but be assured that it will come. Then, may we never focus our anger at the one who is trying to humbly trying to show us what Christ’s will is. Such feelings should be reserved for the devil, the world, and ourselves, when we give in to disobedience. Let us, “Therefore be careful how we walk, not as unwise men but as wise” (Eph. 5:15).
Oh, and watch yourself on Yale between Wadsworth and Sheridan!