Owen, my three year old, just completed one of those intensive four-day swimming programs where the instructor’s only purpose is to ensure our kids know how to save themselves if they fall into the pool.
The first day was ugly. Children crying and screaming, “Mommy, save me, save me” from the pool while helpless parents (me being one of them) had to stand back, hold our breath and gently assure our children, “You can do it!”
Today was the final lesson and just as we were promised, the kids made significant progress. Some were even eager to jump into the pool and swim into the instructor's arms! The kids were feeling confident in their ability to swim and save themselves. They’d overcome their fear. Pride replaced the terror in their eyes.
But as the final test, the instructor took it up a notch. Rather than being in the pool next to the children, he hurled the kids into the pool one by one so they would know what to do without anyone in the pool by their side to rescue them.
And frightened parents, once again, stood on the edge - our insides unraveling as we watched the children we love fighting to save themselves from drowning.
I’m realizing this all sounds a bit tragic but at moments it certainly felt that way.
I stood alongside one mom who watched her three year old thrown into the pool. He was taught what to do. He knew the steps. Get to the top, and swim for your life to the edge. And that's exactly what he did, but when he got to the edge he struggled to grab the wall. He reached. He reached again. But to no avail.
He was trying so hard to save himself.
I was standing next to his mom as she watched her son fight. Hearts were racing. Palms were sweating. And finally this sweet little boy’s mom burst with her heart’s cry, "Please let me jump in! Please!" In other words, “I have to save my child. I love him and he needs me!”
She knew she could do for her child what he could not do for himself, and she was desperate to save him.
Perhaps you know where I’m going with this.
Jesus did for you and me what we could never do for ourselves. And it gave him great pleasure to do so. Imagine that.
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
This isn’t a perfect analogy because the instructor didn't let the mom jump in and save her son. The instructor knew her son needed to learn to save himself in the water so he let him struggle until he found the edge.
But that's not how our story ends! Praise God that isn’t how our story ends. In our story, grace happened.
We don’t have to do more, try harder, and be better to save ourselves. Kick like hell, go ahead, but no amount of kicking can earn you more of God’s love, favor, acceptance, affection, or blessing. It’s already yours, in abundance, in Christ Jesus.
God sent Jesus into the pool I was drowning in. And God sent Jesus into the pool you were drowning in. To absorb the punishment for our sins and to reconcile us to himself, God sent Jesus in.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. Whoever puts his trust in God’s Son will not be lost but will have life that lasts forever. For God did not send His Son into the world to say it is guilty. He sent His Son so the world might be saved from the punishment of sin by Him.
He has rescued us. That work is done. Now, by grace, He is desiring to heal, restore, transform, and bless. The Bible is clear that our acceptance into the family of God is only the beginning, not the end, of God’s work in us. By the power of His Spirit (not by our own feeble strength) He is now growing us in his image and likeness. Drawing us more deeply unto Himself.
Will you open your arms wide (or even just a little?) and allow His transforming grace in?
Because when we do, in the words of Max Lucado in GRACE:
“No sooner will one wave crash into the sand than another appears. Then another, then another. This is a picture of God’s sufficient grace. Grace is simply another word for God’s tumbling, rumbling reservoir of strength and protection. It comes at us not occasionally or miserly but constantly and aggressively, wave upon wave. We’ve barely regained our balance from one breaker, and then, bam, here comes another. ‘Grace upon grace’ (John 1:16)
We dare to hang our hat and stake our hope on the gladdest news of all: if God permits the challenge, he will provide grace to meet it. We never exhaust his supply. ‘Stop asking so much! My grace reservoir is running dry.’ Heaven knows no such words. God has enough grace to solve every dilemma you face, wipe every tear you cry, and answer every question you ask.”
It is good for our hearts to be strengthend by grace. (Hebrews 13:9) I pray His grace will strengthen yours today.
**If you'd like to receive an email when I post future blogs, please click here to sign up. Thanks!