Despite hitting a construction zone and back up from a pair of accidents, I was making very good time Sunday night for the start of a 3-day trip to the Midwest. I decided to leave Sunday afternoon and get the bulk of the first leg out of the way and spend some time Monday through the backcountry of Indiana before 4:00 p.m. appointment in Indianapolis.
About 3 hours 45 minutes into the trip, I decided to pull off at exit 141 on i-75 in Tennessee, which is about 20 miles south of the border of Kentucky. Thinking if I wanted any dinner, I looked at the possibilities. About that time, I get a text from my wife.
“Guess what you left in your car? Your wallet.”
My angry-at-myself response was a quick baseball language word. Then, I considered the reality of my situation: I had no ID nor any way of paying for anything. Going through the cash I had in hand, I tend not to carry a lot, I had enough to get a bottle of water and a York peppermint patty for dinner.
In order to get my wallet, the two of us talked and we decided we would meet halfway along I-40 at a motel for the night. Now, along this stretch of I-40, there is not much available for about a 40 mi stretch along the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. While I would have been glad to take the longer stretch, and get to Canton, NC, because motel availability was about $30 cheaper, we decided to meet in Newport, TN. In short, her drive time was about an hour longer than mine would be.
At this point, I felt miserable, and still do in putting this post together. I screwed up, but it was going to cost her a relaxing Sunday evening, as well as time away from her work Monday morning, which is among her busiest time of the week.
Yet, knowing the inconvenience of all of this for her, I had concern about seeing her face to face. I figured I had a good chewing out coming, and quite honestly, I deserved it.
They’re just some things you do in life where you feel really stupid, and this is where I was much of Sunday evening, and most of Monday.
I felt like an idiot.
She shows up, hands me my wallet, and I get a big hug. And a smile. Her concern was that I had what I needed.
When I told her that I figured she would be mad at me, and that I wouldn’t blame her if she was, her response was, “No. It’s okay.”
I thought through the event while driving to Indiana and it came to me that my wife’s actions were a reflection of what God’s grace is.
How often is grace extended by God to the idiot? For this one – me – it is countless.
Time after time, knowing we’ve messed up and we feel as low as we can get, and we expect the worst from what God will do, there is that grace extended to us, that love poured out to us, that assurance of God’s presence with us and His provisions for us – the idiot.
Read that again: the assurance of God’s presence with us and provisions for us.
Even from the beginning, when the idiots – Adam and Eve – are foolishly trying to sew fig leaves together, God provided something better for them in that moment. In the story of the Prodigal Son, the father, who could’ve chewed out the son – the idiot – who wasted everything, instead assured the son of his presence and provided what he needed.
The biggest example of God’s grace? Sending His Son to redeem humanity by His work on the cross, so that we can His God’s presence and be afforded what we needed – a bridge to the Creator.
How many times have we sunk so low that we can do nothing more than say, “I am am idiot”, yet God has overlooked that to pour out undeserved grace to us?
If God continues to pour underserved grace upon us, in spite of our shortcomings and failures, should we also do the same for those who who have failed us?
I am grateful to God for a wife who knows how to extend that grace. Honestly, I could do far better.
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