For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. – Ephesians 2:4–8
I have 8-year-old twin boys, Jeremiah and Joshua. They look completely different from each other, and yes, they act completely different, too.
They are in the second grade, and for the past two years, we have had the same morning routine. I wake them at 6 a.m., they get dressed, brush their teeth and wash their faces, then come down for breakfast, eat and get ready for school. Jeremiah is usually the first to come down, looking very neat and in order, and well, Joshua … I’ll just say, most of the time he looks completely the opposite of Jeremiah.
At 7 a.m., breakfast should be over and it's time to close up backpacks, put on shoes and jackets, and go to school. This sounds like a pretty simple routine, right? Well, before we leave, I have to tell Joshua three or four times to tie up his shoestrings, button his shirt, put on his belt and tuck his shirt into his pants. (They wear uniforms to school so they have to look a certain way.) And it continues: Get your lunch, put your water bottle in your backpack, where is your coat? The answer to this is often, “I don’t know, I might have left it at school.”
One particular morning, I got so frustrated with repeating myself because we go through this almost every day, and Jeremiah and I are always waiting on Joshua to get it together. On the way to school, I let him know I was going to start taking away privileges. I asked him two questions: "Why do I have to continue repeating myself every morning?" and "Why do you have such a difficult time following my instructions?"
I immediately felt a punch to my gut when I heard God say to me, "Why do I have to continue repeating myself to you?" and "Why do you have such a difficult time following my instructions?"
I was speechless; there was nothing else I could say. I simply prayed with my boys before they got out of the car, and I wished them a great day.
Has this ever happened to you? I was reminded that morning that I don’t always follow instructions and that God has to continually repeat things to me. God graciously showers grace and mercy on us every day. His grace, his love and forgiveness are all undeserving, yet he extends it to us anyway. Our God is such a loving God, so gentle but strong, always watching, always listening.
I had no answer for God, just like my son had no answer for me. I was humbled at that moment. Since then, I have tried to remember that maybe, just maybe, Joshua is doing his best, and I have to have more patience with him, just as God has been patient with me.
We don’t deserve grace, but God freely gives it, and we gladly receive it. I ask you today to look within yourself. Who needs grace from you today? We are all humans; we all have flaws and are trying to do the best we can. The only perfect being is God. Jesus willingly laid down his life for each of us, and we surely didn’t and still don’t deserve that gift.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for being such a gracious and loving father. May you continue to shower your grace and mercy upon us. Help us to extend forgiveness and mercy to all of those around us, and help us to share your love and see your people as you see them, not as our human eyes see them. Guide us and grant us wisdom in all that we say and do. We ask all these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.