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May 16, 2014

The Joy Lady: Um, excuse me, that’s not your parking space

TERRE HAUTE — We just returned home from a much-needed trip to visit my husband’s family in western Nebraska. Aside from the snowfall on Mother’s Day, and the warning about staying on the paved sidewalks at Scotts Bluff National Monument due to awakening of the prolific rattlesnakes in the area, and all that sage brush blowing across the highway, it was a great trip.

Except for the parking situation.

My mother-in-law lives in a senior-citizen apartment complex. There are five stories of apartment dwellers, and each apartment is allotted one parking space. Since the parking lot was small, there were only four parking spaces left for visitors.

On one visit, I parked in the space that was clearly marked as the parking space for apartment 1C, my mother-in-law’s apartment. Since she has no car, I thought it would be OK to park there. That was not the case, however.

As I exited my car, I smiled at a gentleman who had leaned against his car to watch me park. “I know you’re from Indiana,” he said, pointing to my license plate. “So, you probably don’t know that as a visitor you should be parking in the visitor parking space, not a resident space.”

I asked him if it would be OK to park in my mother-in-law’s space just long enough to pick up my mother-in-law, and he said, “Sure. It’s OK with me if it’s OK with her. Just next time, remember that there are visitor parking spaces at the end of the lot.”

Well, OK, then.

Have you ever taken a parking space reserved for someone else? Ever park in such a way to hide someone’s name painted on the curb or the pavement? Ever ignored the “Do Not Park Here” sign and parked there anyway?

Did you know God has a parking spot reserved just for Him? It’s the space specially marked for God so He can make room for His justice and judgment. Sometimes, we have taken that parking space. Sometimes we act like we are God. We decide what is best for ourselves — and others — to think and do. We think we really know what went wrong in a situation. We think we are the only ones who know what should be done — including when and how it should be done.

But we are putting ourselves in a place that is reserved for God. We crowd Him out of the place only He can occupy. We pick up situations and problems and solve them, not leaving room for God to do what He wants to do. We put ourselves into spaces we should not be, and then go about trying to get ourselves out.

We should back up, pull out of God’s space and let Him in to do His work. Our problems are not too complicated for God. Relationships are not too complex for God to heal. He’s way ahead of us. He just needs us to get out of his way, so He can fill our space with His words, His works, His love, His mercy, His grace.

In other words, don’t park ourselves in God’s spot.

Verna Davis, speaker and writer, may be reached at vrdspeaks@ yahoo.com.

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