Grace is God’s greatest idea. That he would treat us according to his heart and not ours. That he would see us and see his Son. That he would relentlessly attach himself to us in a love that no sin can sever. That he would swing the doors of heaven open to anyone who would trust, not impress, but trust him.
God does not stand on a ladder and tell us to climb it and find him. He lowers a ladder in the wilderness of our lives and finds us. He does not offer to use us if we behave. He pledges to use us, knowing all the while we will misbehave. Grace is not a gift for those who avoid the shadows of Shechem. Grace exists because none of us succeed in doing so.
God loving. God stooping. God offering. God caring and God carrying.
Do you know this grace?
Grace does for us what I did for my grandson. Denalyn and I were enjoying an afternoon chat when, from outside our back door, I heard these words: “Help! It’s an emergency!”
I knew the voice because I know the girl. Rosie, our granddaughter. She was one month shy of six years, redheaded, blue-eyed, and in that moment sounded very urgent.
Rosie and her three-year-old brother, Max Wesley, were engaged in their favorite pastime, rock collecting. No need to spend money on toys for this duo. Just turn them loose in the open field behind our house so they can search for glittering, sparkly stones.
As we hurried out the back door, Jenna asked Rosie, “What happened?”
“Max can’t stand up!”
I assumed the worst. Rattlesnake bite. A tumble into the ravine.
“Why can’t he stand up?”
“He loaded rocks in his pockets. His pants fell down to his ankles. He’s stuck and can’t stand up.”
We stopped, looked at each other, and smiled.
“Looks like a sermon illustration in the making,” Denalyn told me.
She was right. It was an illustration deluxe. Little Max could not stand up. He was plopped on the path. His knees were drawn to his chest. His jeans were down to his ankles. The only thing separating his rear from the asphalt was Spiderman underwear.
“Can you get up?” I asked.
His voice was small and forlorn. “No.”
“Can you try?”
When he did, the problem was all too clear. Each pocket was laden with rocks. Side pockets, rear pockets, all four pockets made heavy with stones.
“Do you need help?” I asked.
He said, “Yes.” He let me help him remove the unnecessary loads one by one, rock by rock, weight by weight. Next thing you know he hitched up his jeans and began to play again.
(I told you it was a great illustration.)
What keeps you from rising up? What entangles your feet? What prevents you from moving forward? What load pilfers your peace?
Would you follow Max’s example?
Max trusted us.
Won’t you trust the grace of God?