The 8th of December is a very special day in our family. That’s the day Emma, our eldest daughter, was born – a day I’ll never forget. But last year, the 8th of December was special for a less glorious reason and I’m not likely to forget it either. As Emma and I walked out of the Alliance Française building in St Kilda after Emma’s French class at about 6pm, we couldn’t find our car. That was just surreal. What had happened to it? It took me a few minutes to realize that I had parked in a clearway zone during the restricted times – I basically misread the sign thinking I could park there from 4.30pm. It was totally my fault and I was utterly devastated, especially for Emma, but she was very patient and even told me not to worry about it. Anyway, to get our car back, we took the tram to the Collingwood impound yard where I had to pay a lot of money, which didn’t even cover the cost of the parking ticket! When we got home, I wasn’t proud of myself – if your spouse makes the same mistake, please don’t be too harsh with him/her!
Reflecting on what happened, I realized that life is full of “mini-judgements” – parking tickets or speeding fines on the road, red cards or orders off in sport, detention at school or warnings at work – and that all these judgements were pointing to a “mega judgement” also known as the Day of the Lord (see Joel 2:11 for example). On that day, if you think that you’ll be fine, you’ll actually be fined and it won’t be enough to go to Collingwood or to spend a few hundred dollars to pay your debt. But the liberating news is that, in his unfathomable love for us, the God of the Bible sent his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to “give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45), to pay the crippling debt we have towards God by dying in our place, and to deliver us from our creator’s righteous judgement if we humbly repent and sincerely put our trust in Christ. What a powerful incentive to live for him and not to park anywhere!