Posted by: Don Linnen | 31 March 2015

Warning Ignored – Grace Needed

At noon Saturday I got the keys to my new car. New to me, the 2013 model was in impeccable condition. It was my first “new” car in over 15 years.

Less than five hours later it had a long scratch along the passenger’s front door. It was my fault. I was sick. The short, sad story follows.

With great expectation and determined intention I pulled my new pride and joy into the two-car garage of our 1949 vintage home. I knew the folding mirrors would allow me to park closer to my side of the garage.

They did. You know the rest.

The proximity warning system chirped without ceasing. I ignored it. I knew what I was doing. Did I mention I was determined (aka hard headed)? 

The small lesson: when outside mirrors do not fold, by necessity you will allow a little more room when rolling into a tight garage. In my garage that little more room allowed my well-seasoned Weber grill to cohabit with my SUV. With folded mirrors, it was too close for comfort – or shiny, new paint.

Saturday night was grim. In the grand scheme of things, it was very minor. It’s just stuff. Granddaddy always said, “don’t cry over something that won’t cry over you.” But I just couldn’t shake the exasperation.

I lack the agility to kick myself, but I sure tried. I was mad at myself for making it a big deal – for being mad at myself. For doing something stupid. For not thinking of consequences. For ignoring the warning. 

Why did it happen? The answer came Sunday morning while reading my daily devotional in Heart of the Matter (edited by Nancy Winter). In that book William Smith wrote about “a God of all grace.”

He noted how often stubborn, willful people have ignored the warnings of God. Smith continued,

“When you first get a warning, you take it seriously: you might even act on it initially. But if you need a warning it means you’re already partially blind, so it doesn’t take much to completely close your eyes.”

With a vivid memory of proximity-warning beeps ringing in my ears, I went on to read:

“You see sorry and pathetic people, but you also see a wonderful God, who does not mock, laugh, or use their failings to inflate his own sense of importance. You see a God of all grace.

God tells stories about wretched people who can neither see nor do what is best for themselves or their families. In the telling, God tells you even more about himself. People make life hard on God. They doubt him, ignore him, disobey him, and are miserable to him. And in his response, God extends his sovereignty, power, and might on their behalf. He is kind to the undeserving.”

So that’s why it happened. At my ripe old age, I still need some lessons. I needed a reminder about what’s important and what’s not. About using good judgement to avoid the need for a warning. About paying attention when there is a warning. And about forgiveness.

The big lesson: God is all about grace. We don’t deserve it, but we get it.

Pretty cool.

Maybe we can extend it to others as well. Maybe even to ourselves.

 

 

 

 

 

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