Fast and Forgiven – Psalm 32
Because a sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.*
I have what some might call a lead foot. In other words, I like to drive fast. Really fast. Cruising around town in a minivan with three kids buckled up in the backseat has curbed my insatiable appetite for speed quite a bit. But more often than I care to admit, that speedometer needle pushes waaay past the legal limit.
Obviously this means I’ve been pulled over a few times in my life. I drive illegally not invincibly. And though I’m not proud of it, I’ve sometimes lied to try to get out of a ticket.
I didn’t know the speed limit in this neighborhood.
My cruise control must be broken.
Wait, what? I thought Montana didn’t have a speed limit.
I think I’m in labor.
None of these excuses has ever worked, especially the last one since I wasn’t even pregnant at the time.
Most recently, though, I took a slightly different approach.
“Do you know how fast you were going back there, ma’am?” the officer asked after pulling me over.
“Not really, sir,” I said, “But I know I was speeding. I’m sorry.”
My kids, who were riding with me at the time, stared wide-eyed out the window while the police officer returned to his patrol car with my license and registration.
“Are you in big trouble?” one daughter asked. “Are you going to jail?” the other one worried.
“No,” I sighed, “but he’s probably going to give me a speeding ticket.”
A few minutes later, the officer returned to my side, smiled, and issued me a warning instead of a $250 fine. No flimsy or flirty excuse needed. No crying required.
I could’ve kissed him, but I didn’t want to press my luck, so I thanked him and promised to slow down as I eased my Dodge Grand Caravan back on Route 11.
This incident comes to mind when I read Psalm 32.
“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit is no deceit” (Psalm 32:1-2).
The Message calls it luck. Other translations call it blessed or happy. Charles Spurgeon calls it “mountains of delight.” But I don’t think any word or phrase captures that feeling of getting off scot-free, especially when the lawbreaker’s been rightfully busted.
I certainly felt lucky that day on the side of the road. Heck, I was downright happy. But in my spiritual journey, in my worst wanderings marred with sins far more offensive than breaking the speed limit, I’m rendered speechless when I consider all that Christ has forgiven.
Because I’ve worn the psalmist’s shoes. I’ve walked around in them long enough to feel my bones wasting away, long enough to feel God’s heavy hand upon me, too. In one particular season of reckless rebellion, my strength was so sapped from unrepentance it felt just like David’s: dried up from summer’s scorching heat.
But it wasn’t until I confessed my sin to God and stopped hiding my offenses behind sorry excuses that I was forgiven and set free. I put an end to pretending I had no sins to forgive because the blood of Christ doesn’t cover excuses, only sin confessed as sin. And only then was He able to surround me with steadfast love and songs of deliverance.
I hear them today in the melody of my children’s laughter, in the way my husband says my name. I hear it in springtime, in the strum of a guitar, in the purrs of my cat sleeping in a patch of sunshine. I experience the overwhelming magnitude of my eternal pardon every day in a thousand different big and small ways. And I’ll never get over it. I’ll never find the right words to describe it.
Blessed comes close. Lucky and happy do, too.
But whatever word you choose, however you describe that feeling of being forgiven, I think the best way to respond is simply to say thank you, slow down, and keep on driving.
*Lyrics from “Before the Throne of God Above” by Charitie Smith Bancroft
Megan Oldfield is a writer, stay-at-home mom, and chronic user of the word, “Dude.” She earned a degree in television and film writing at Syracuse University, and while she once was a Web designer and television producer, she now homeschools and drives a mini-van, two things she swore she’d never do. Megan lives dangerously close to Hershey’s Chocolate World in rural Pennsylvania, along with her husband and three kids, and when she’s not feeding them or folding their laundry, she’s stringing words together about family, faith, marriage, and motherhood at her personal blog, RaineyDays.org.