Hospital parking and grace.

I was thinking recently.  This is not altogether unusual, in my defense.  However, I think the thoughts I was thinking are worth sharing.  This is altogether more rare.

This week has been somewhat full-on, to say the least.  I’ll focus on just the relevant bits.  And to put things in context, I live in the UK.  If I lived in another country, this blog post wouldn’t have been written.  I’m profoundly thankful.  You’ll see why by the end of the post…

To cut a long story short, Tuesday saw me taking Little Boy into hospital.  He’d already been to the doctors on Monday, and the same doctors’ surgery but a different doctor on Tuesday morning.  He was running a high temperature.  Tuesday’s doctor diagnosed tonsillitis and prescribed some antibiotics.  She said that I was to take Little Boy back that afternoon to see how his temperature was, and if I was concerned in the meantime, I could go to A&E (I guess that’s ER for you folks on the other side of the pond).

Well, I was concerned in the meantime, because his temperature, despite paracetamol and ibuprofen, was heading up rather than down.  We therefore went to A&E.

At A&E, we saw a nurse at triage, followed by a doctor, then another doctor.  We had a bay to wait in, and were seen by, I think, four or five nurses taking his temperature, checking his oxygen intake and all that jazz.  We were then sent up to the ward where we were seen by other medical staff (doctors and nurses) and eventually released that same evening when both we and they were happy that Little Boy’s fluid intake was where it should be.

Wednesday, Little Boy didn’t do too well.  Thursday was worse, and we went back to A&E.  We were admitted to the ward, this time staying overnight.  We saw at least three more doctors, plus two student doctors.  We saw countless nurses, and I was allowed to stay overnight with him, on a bed they made up for me next to him on the ward.

Now rewind slightly to Tuesday evening.  We’re on the ward, waiting to see if we’ll be kept in, and I’m thinking about hospital parking.  You see, a lot of people have a bit of a thing about hospital parking.  But as I sat there, thinking, it occurred to me that I was getting a bit of a bargain.  By the time I left the hospital on Tuesday night, I’d got an £8.50 parking bill.  But what else did I have to pay?  Nothing.  £8.50 for loads of doctors, nurses, a bay on A&E and a cot on the ward.  Free drugs while we were there.  Bits of paperwork, a couple of syringes for fluid challenges (without needles, don’t worry!), I could go on.

And then Thursday was even better.  We took Little Boy in later in the day and paid £5.50 for parking (this was partly because we didn’t leave the car overnight – Anna took it home.  £5.50 for the same as Tuesday, plus a cot and a bed overnight, free prescription of new antibiotic, in case the other one wasn’t working.  You getting the picture?

Now, imagine going to stay at a nice hotel, and at the end of the stay, being told, ‘you owe us £8.50 for parking’.  You might think that was a bit steep.  But if that was ALL they charged you; if your ENTIRE bill for the stay was the £8.50 for parking, well that would surely be different. 

Or go to a nice restaurant for a slap-up meal.  The £3.00 cost of parking would seem really quite reasonable if you weren’t paying anything for your food and drink.  So why do we go to hospital, enjoy the attentions of numerous doctors and nurses, pay nothing for the privilege, and moan about the cost of parking?


And then I got thinking a little more, and I thought – “that’s what I sometimes do with grace”.  I quibble and moan (at least in my head, if not out loud) about God’s expectations of me.  Why do I have to do stuff His way?  Why must I pay that price?  And yet I’m forgetting that while grace is free, it cost Him a great deal.  It costs me so little compared to the actual cost of being reconciled to God.


What about you?

Do you sometimes forget what our relationship with God cost Him?


Do you need to get God’s expectations of you in perspective?


I know I do.

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