My driveway is insight, and I can almost breathe a sigh of relief.
At the last minute, a tiny orange tabby cat darts from the dark, right into the path of my car and a swerve to ensure we don’t collide. The cat throws me off course and as I turn into my driveway, I don’t realize I am way too close to the privacy fence.
I realize my mistake too late- when a terrible scraping sound rings out, and I catch my breath.
I tried so hard to make it home without incident. That very day my husband spent hours detailing my car. It was immaculate with barely a scratch and the interior was back to show-room quality. Thus, I had reservations about taking that whip cream dessert home on the flimsy paper plate with no cover. Thinking, about how angry my husband would be if that dessert spilled and messed up all his hard work. Against my better judgment, I brought the dessert home with all the good intentions I could muster as I knew my husband would enjoy the treat.
So, I drive the 30 minutes home like I’m 100 years old and carrying delicate cargo.
My good intentions were now completely out the window (thanks to the cat) as I inventoried the damage. My beautiful white SUV (named Swan) had her first injury. A nasty gash along her back passenger quarter panel, along with dents, and the complete removal of trim.
What to do?
You see, my husband takes great pride in our vehicles, and I knew he would be angry. Thankfully my husband wasn’t home to witness the incident, and I had time to develop the best way to break the news and prepare myself for the consequences.
So, I parked in the garage like nothing is wrong. Propped the trim against the garage wall and went into the house to pray.
I finally decide that honesty is best, repent and ask for forgiveness.
As I waited for my husband’s return, I felt like I was a kid again waiting for dad to come home and dole out punishment for bad behavior.
In what seemed like forever- my husband finally arrived home and immediately recognized something was wrong. Not with the car but, with me.
I confess after asking for forgiveness.
He listened and then silently went outside to survey the car. (Again, I held my breath.)
When he returned, he simply said “what’s done is done. I’ll make some calls tomorrow to see how we can get it fixed.”
Then he eats his dessert.
I’m stunned. No anger. No chastisement. No shame. No disappointment. No guilt.
But, that’s not the end to this story.
No, the very next day my husband returned home with the biggest bouquet of tropical flowers I’ve ever seen along with a love note that read “Just because.”
It brought tears to my eyes. I certainly didn’t deserve the beautiful gift. I mean who gives flowers to someone after they’ve wrecked your car?
As I marveled over the gorgeous flowers, I realized this is the exact type of love that God has for us. An extravagant love. An undeserved love. A love that doesn't make sense. A love that isn't earned, but freely given.
Ephesians 2:1-7 tells us:
“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature, we were subject to God's anger, just like everyone else.
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.”
While we were wallowing in our bad behavior God responded and extended an eternal gift of abundant life.
That my friend is grace- God's undeserved love showered over an undeserving soul.
What's more, I realized my husband and I both reacted vastly different to these circumstances than what we've done in the past. Typically, I would have cursed, ranted, raved, and lamented my stupidity and carelessness. I would have been sick for days that I ruined my new car and I would have worn shame like it was a mink coat. As for my husband, his typical response would have been to completely blow his top and chastise me for my recklessness. I would have then gotten defensive, we would have argued, and it would not have been pretty.
No, this time was different, and once again I realized “but God.”
“Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off.” ~ Max Lucado
By God's grace, we are changing. Life is indeed better with God.
Now, I can breathe that sigh of relief.
Thank you, Jesus, for your undeserved love and generous grace.
Turning failures into victory for those that don't deserve it!