Highway Theology: Speeding, Sinning and our Journey to Heaven

Last night, I was on the highway driving to Bible study when I realized I was speeding. And I mean speeding. My little car is notoriously easy to speed in, and, I’ll admit it, I do have a little bit of lead foot. To make matters worse (or maybe to justify myself) Kansas City drivers aren’t the best about sticking to the speed limit. Even in construction zones, people zip along their way as if nothing is different. It seems to be a fact of life around here: everyone speeds. 

I begin to wonder – what are other areas of my life where I justify sin because ‘everyone else is doing it’? I reasoned away my tendency towards acedia in college because everyone else was putting their papers off until the last minute. I didn’t tackle lustful thoughts right away because there were a lot of women in my life who objectified men.

When I was on the highway last night, I could have slowed down. But then I would have stuck out. I would have interrupted the flow of traffic. I would have caused some people to tap on their brakes and slow down. That’s so true in my spiritual life too. When I decided to buckle down and be intentional with my school work, people laughed at me and told me I needed to loosen up. When I went on a dating fast so I could straighten out my thoughts of lust towards the men in my life, people wondered if I was crazy. If you follow the rules, whether that be the rule of the speed limit or a law that God has put in place, sometimes you just stick out. 

The only reasons that I noticed that I was speeding last night was because I had to tap my brakes. The car in front of me was going so slow. He was getting in the way of the flow of traffic. Then I realized that he was going exactly the speed limit. He was obeying the rules, and because I wasn't, I found his lack of haste annoying. 

How often is that true in our spiritual life, too? Maybe we've slipped into 'speeding' through life, or are breaking the boundaries God has lovingly set out for us. We're so desensitized to the fact that breaking God's rules is not a great choice, because everyone around us is doing it. So when we come across someone doing the right thing, it can annoy us . "They're slowing me down! Why can't they just get with the times?"

But sometimes, someone following God's laws (or the laws of the road) is just the reminder we need to slow down, catch our breath and refocus on what is good, true and beautiful. That could mean stopping a sinful habit, or, in my case last night, slowing down to the speed limit and enjoying a drive to Bible study. 

Never forget that the road to Heaven is the Way of the Cross. Jesus has called us to follow Him, bearing the Cross as He did.
— Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne


Sadly, it seems that it takes tragedy to jolt us into awareness. It takes someone losing their life to realize that driving a vehicle is a big deal. We quickly lose sight of the fact that we're operating a machine, speeding along at 60 - 70 miles an hour. If we ran into someone going that fast, it could easily injure or kill someone.

Yet we nonchalantly will check our phone, mess with our radio, or even put on makeup while we're driving. We forget the gravity of what driving means.

Similarly, it's easy to forget that this life we're on, this road to Heaven, is an incredibly important journey. Which roads we take matters. The way we walk along the path matters. Who we journey with matters. But it often takes calamity to highlight how important our journey to Heaven really is. I know I'm guilty of not thinking about death and the final things unless someone I know and love passes away. 

In today's instant gratification world, speeding along is the popular option. Whether that be speeding on the highway or taking spiritual short cuts, our culture isn't appreciative of a slow and steady pace towards Christ (or the grocery store, for that matter).

But even if it's not the most popular option, we're called to intentionally strive towards holiness. We're called to choose Christ in every situation - even when picking the speed we'll drvie our cars. Today, I challenge you to choose Christ, even if no one else is doing it, or our actions cause people to slow down and think. It's worth it.