that you’re a Christ-follower, a child of God.
You know and love Jesus.
You are grateful for His gospel gifts to you.
And you want to faithfully serve Jesus.
And you blow it…bad.
You sin that sin….again.
You make that excuse…again.
You blow past the demands of that relationship…again.
You fail at the exact point you know God needs you…again.
You toss away your Father’s generosity on something trivial
At that moment, what do you think God thinks of you?
How does He respond?
What picture comes to mind?
Your heart’s image of God’s expression in that moment may say more about the state of your faith and the condition of your soul than you realize.
Now, get that same “blow it” moment in mind…
…and let me describe to you the best sports moment of the week. (I’d love to show you, but Major League Baseball is being stupid about their image ownership rights. You may still be able to see it here.) At a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game, long-time fan Steve Monforto caught his first foul ball—a great, leaning catch. He fist-bumped some other fans, turned and handed the ball to Emily, his three-year-old daughter –who promptly threw it back on the field.
What did Steve Monforto do? How did he respond to his child’s tossing his good away? Watch…
His hands go to his head in surprise.
He says, “Oh, no!!”….but he’s smiling.
And his next reflex action is to scoop Emily into his arms and hold her tightly…
…laughing all the while.
You’re the child who fails.
God is the Father, whose capacity for laughing grace and mercy is more astonishing than we dare dream. And that love is at the core of everything we call “Christian” or label “gospel”.
Pete Galli notes, “The love of the Father is far more durable than we have come to believe. We forget love and we immediately become tyrants, slaves or fools when we believe God wants us to be more than His children; when we forget that we are adequate in our Father’s eyes exactly as we are, that our voices matter to Him and that He wants nothing more than to share life with us.”
Read that again—slowly. ‘We are adequate in our Father’s eyes exactly as we are.” That’s grace — which is far more than a mere word or theological construct. It is the miracle at the core of our life. Because of Jesus and the gospel of His life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension—we get treated with grace. Accepted, in spite of…whatever. And that changes us.
Emily Monforto showed us how that works, because at the instant of disappointing her father, she ran towards his arms and not away. I can’t tell you how often when I fail God that my tendency is to run away and not towards Him.
But Elyse Fitzpatrick reminds us that “If we’re not completely convinced that His love is ours, right now, fully and unalterably ours, we will always hide in the shadows, be focused on our performance, fearing His wrath….We are, each one, more sinful and flawed than we ever dared believe, but more loved and welcomed than we ever dared hope. “
Tomorrow, you, like me, are likely to throw the ball back…again.
And in the moment, because of Jesus, your Father will hug you and me, and laugh…again.
Imagine that…and live.