I can be pretty anal about speed limits. I try to obey them and often get rather angry at those who treat them with reckless disregard. It's part conviction about integrity and part respect for safety. Whatever the reason, I must confess that at times I am that annoying person in front of you who attempts to show some regard for the speed limit.
We all know, though, that there are times when those limits are a little ridiculous. Case in point: the two lane highway that stretches across the northeast corner of New Mexico, running from Raton to the Texas border through open, empty land. On my last journey across that strip, there were signs both for construction (which was not actually going on) and some sort of safety zone (located miles and miles from anyone who might possibly need to be kept safe). I just could not bring myself to drive 45 mph for over an hour on that lonely, straight stretch of highway. Of course, a more recent (and constant) example is the crazy limit going north from here on I-25. Again, 45 mph. Now, most of the time traffic is so bad you can't even go 10. But when the lanes are open...I mean, it's a stinkin' interstate, people. And ultimately, you're supposed to go with the flow of traffic, right?
Driving up 25 a few days ago, I found myself thinking about the whole thing. Let's say I decided, "Screw the flow of traffic and my need to get somewhere; I am going to obey the speed limit!" Possible (ok, probable) consequences would include 1) annoyed drivers riding my little red chevrolet rear, 2) nasty looks when said annoyed drivers finally decide to get off my butt and just pass me, 3) possible irritation from whomever might be in the car with me, and 4) having to get myself out of the house earlier to avoid being really, really late. Sounds great, huh?
But the idea goes beyond a silly speed limit. What about some of the other standards God has set for us that aren't exactly in keeping with the world's flow of traffic? What about the places where faith and integrity demand that I go slow when the world goes fast? We all know that following Jesus wholeheartedly brings about these kinds of countercultural decisions--decisions to obey God's law when we would blend in fine by falling in line with how it's normally done. I guess the question God had for me as I drove that day (probably not going 45) was, "Are you willing to endure being tailgated in life, to endure getting nasty looks and disapproving sighs to follow me? Are you willing to face inconveniences if that's what it takes to really obey me and represent me with integrity?" Am I?
The choice will present itself: obey God or ease into the world's flow of traffic. What are we willing to endure to choose what's best?
But I mean really, Mr. Department of Transportation...45?