A Bible Scholar I am not, but as these eyes stare up at me in wide-eyed wonder, oh how I wish I were. Their question’s simple, yet after decades of claiming its truth, I still struggle with explaining it plainly. In a way these childlike hearts could understand. I’m over-thinking it, clearly, as it shouldn’t be that difficult. I cling to grace each day. Surely I can explain what it means to a group of 5 year-olds.
Her heart-shaped sequins glisten as she reiterates the question:
“So what does grace mean, anyway?”
I feel like a deer in headlights as I stare back at her long lashes and find myself quoting Romans 5:8 without really realizing why.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
He’s the first one to say it. This boy who is normally too shy to draw the attention questions bring.
“But Miss Nikki, that verse is about love. Not grace.”
Impulse makes me nod in agreement, providing enough time for my heart to catch up with my head…
You see, I’m not sure grace could exist without love.
So I tell them as plainly as I can about this thing that’s so hard to believe.
Each one of us makes mistakes. No one is perfect, and yet, Jesus loves us anyway. No and, ifs, or buts about it. He loves us.
Jesus knew we’d mess up. Still He came to earth. Jesus saw how bad we could be. Still He offered to lay His own life down in exchange for ours.
No matter how much we blow it, He loves us anyway.
Doesn’t matter how many times we fail.
We could come in last place at everything and still we’re kept first place in His heart.
His love is unfailing. Amazing. Unabashed. Forever.
That’s grace. Plain and simple.
Grace is love that never fades, fails, yet always forgives and forgets.
Grace is loving someone anyway.
Later that night I realize how these children helped me see.
It’s settled then. As I walk into this Lenten season, I am determined to keep looking with the childlike heart He’s given me.
And maybe if I spend some time acknowledging the grace He gives, I’ll have an easier time extending it to others who don’t deserve it — same as me.
Perhaps if I focus on how He never fails, I’ll be able to step more quickly when He calls. Bend more fully when He suggests. Extend His hand through mine.
Friends, I don’t care how your tradition prepares you for Easter. Regardless of how ashen or how much you sacrifice these 40 days to come. We each can dedicate ourselves to focusing on His grace. love. forgiveness. Doesn’t matter how you look at it, I don’t think they’d all exist without the other.
Let’s live this Lenten Season on purpose. His grace deserves it.
Would you like to join me?
Tell me, how will you be preparing your heart for the significance of the cross this season? How do you see grace? I’d love to hear.