Imagine you have just turned 18, and have had a rough life, being shunted from foster home to foster home. You don’t know what happened to your actual parents, whether they gave you up for adoption or, if so, why. It’s always bothered you. You’re pretty rough yourself, experimented with things you thought would help, but have left you worse off. You left high-school after a year, only worked at part-time, low-paying jobs and feel like your life is going nowhere.
From out of the blue, your actual mother contacts you. She explains you were kidnapped from her as an infant and she has spent considerable time and money trying to find you. She is desperate to meet you. Will you visit her at her home?
So here you are, across from the mother you never knew, in a room the size of a small apartment. The space screams “money, and lots of it!” Everything is a pristine white: the luxurious feathery white rug that your feet sunk into, the buttery-soft leather sofas, the walls, the window coverings. The accent colours in the room are rich turquoises, golds and silvers. The coffee table in front of you is exquisitely etched glass, inlaid with precious stones. You could not name them, except for maybe diamonds. On the table sits a goblet. You chose cola when asked what you would like to drink. A uniformed butler served it.
Your mother perches on the edge of an embroidered chair, leaning towards you, devouring you with her gaze. It makes you uncomfortable. You do not remember anyone ever looking at you with such intense love, and you don’t know what to do about it.
You wonder why you are here, how you could have accepted this insane invitation, and if could bolt out the door. Would someone stop you?
Shakily, you reach for the goblet. Maybe you can hide your fear and confusion and by taking a sip of your drink.
The unthinkable happens. Your hand knocks over the goblet and the dark brown stain spreads all over the beautiful white carpet. Mortified, you look at your mother, expecting her to express horror, blame, and condemnation. There is none of that. Instead, with a nonchalant air, she waves aside your stammered apologies and says, “It is nothing at all. My servant will take care of it.”
You can hardly believe it. You can’t stop thinking about how you messed up, and you keep trying to apologize. You even grab the napkin beside your glass and try to clean it. Your mother rises, takes you by the arm and says, “Let’s go into the adjoining room. I could buy a thousand new rugs, but I can never have another you. You are all that is important to me. I don’t want to waste our time on something so insignificant. It is you and me together that is important. I want to know you, and I want you to know me.”
You would say that is one gracious lady. Yes. That is a story of grace.
God’s grace is like that, though much, much more.
He calls to us. We are the children He lost to sin and the world. From the time of the Fall of Adam until now, we have been estranged. When we come to him, we have nothing and He has everything. He is rich beyond our wildest imaginings. There is nothing material we can give Him or add to him. We are acutely aware of our lack, our inabilities, and our mistakes. We want to focus on those mistakes—and many of us have committed worse mistakes than spilled cola. We are ashamed and may even try to clean up our own mess. But we can’t make it clean by ourselves, no matter how hard we try.
Our Father knows all about it. Unlike the mother in the story, the servant He sends to “take care of it” was infinitely more important than a paid employee. He sent Jesus, His only, beloved son, to “take care of” our sin.
The message is that in the Father’s eyes, we are who are important to Him, not our mistakes or sins. They are “taken care of” if we will believe it! He is intensely interested in a relationship with Him, and when we accept the Son, and what He did for us, we can have confidence to come to the Father.
You can bet the mother in the story will not withhold any good thing from that child. The question is, how well will that child be able to receive it? It is evident, in the story, and in life, we will have a long road ahead of us—our whole life—to change, to learn and understand the riches God has laid up for us.