We all have a memory of the milk slowly becoming solid in someone’s refrigerator (never our own). In these moments expiration dates make sense. Food breaks down – weird things happen. And I can only imagine what happens to the people who drink clumpy milk. And yet we also know that expiration dates are just estimates. An expired can of soda won’t kill you. As a youth pastor I drank my fair share and even gave them out to students (we found a stash of year expired cans in the back of our closet). I am none the worse for wear, nor were the students – though I admit it is hard to judge what causes all the changes taking place inside students!
The Calder’s recently related a story of the arrival of their youngest. Before they could carry her out of the hospital the nurse asked to see their car seat. It was a good seat, it had served well through their first children. It was Kid tested. Experienced you could say. But the nurse only checked one thing – the sticker on the bottom. And the sticker revealed the car seat was not just past its prime – but expired. Therefore the nurse refused to let them take home their new little girl…
And it seems we are in the same predicament (the photos above). I told Meg we should just risk it. After-all nurses get busy. Unfortunately this produced, “what kind of father are you?” look (or maybe the “how did I marry you?” look – they are close to the same). And we are now registered for a new car seat/stroller combo*.
* Why the combo? Well, I had already pushed my luck convincing her our stroller with the broken handle could last one more kid (It pops back in place each time!). But once I started losing, especially with logic could leave our baby at the hospital… well my victories can be like a house of cards.
When I related this story at small group, Katie Jo responded by saying, “So some guy can lite-up while carrying the baby out of the hospital, but you can’t take you baby home without a new carseat?!”
This is the way of regulations. They are often good things. But they are never perfect. There are always exceptions. I am sure at some point our carseat would break and not be safe. But right now we have only used it for two years (one year for each girl). Obviously the regulation was designed with the possibility that it could be in use all six years. And while materials break down over time, I imagine there would be warning signs (like smelling the milk).
Plus, back to Katie Jo’s comment, regulations often miss the most important parts of life. As we took Ivy home I wondered how can anyone let me walk out of here with a child? I had (sometimes have) no clue what I was doing – yet, with the right carseat…
And it is this way with the law. Hence Christ came. He brought salvation, not only for the coming age – but this age. He taught a new way of life. One not bound by regulations, but committed to relationships.
The written law is good as a guide, but true holiness requires much more. I suppose Christ taught us the smell test for life. That we may know what is truly good.