One morning recently, as I was running on the sidewalk, pushing Samuel along in the stroller, I was cut off by three different people, and had to stop in my tracks at crosswalks as people pulled out into the intersection without looking for pedestrians. It isn't fair! I thought. Needless to say, I was a little annoyed and frustrated, and I'm sure that those feelings were written all over my face for those people to see. As usual, I had started my run with a prayer, seeking God's safety, good health, and grace.
Then I heard it: the gentle, yet matter-of-fact words of the Holy Spirit, reminding me of two very important words that I pledge to show more of this year: grace and patience.
It appeared so quickly, so easily, so clearly: a picture of my Saviour — moments of my Saviour's life, running through my mind. His life — it wasn't fair in so many ways — yet He came, lived, died, rose again, and did it all for us, for each and every one of us, whether we choose to follow Him or not. It isn't about fairness, I heard in the whisper, It's about grace.
It wasn't fair that Jesus came to earth as a little babe, dependent on Mary and Joseph. He was with God and is God, powerful and almighty; still, He graciously humbled Himself and became flesh to dwell among us and with us.
It wasn't fair that Jesus rarely had time alone. People followed Him everywhere. They wanted to hear His teaching, feel His healing hand, see someone raised from the dead. Even when He tried to be alone, they found Him. Yet, He showed them compassion and grace.
It wasn't fair that Jesus was put to death because of false witnesses, because some were jealous and afraid of Him. They stood up and pointed fingers at Him, collaborated lies, and accused Him of things that He had never done. He quietly took the beating and spitting and lies, patient with those who hated Him and would kill Him.
It wasn't fair that Jesus had to die on the cross for our sin. He was perfect as man and powerful as God, but He chose to bear the punishment for all of our sin by becoming the sacrifice. He graciously gave us His life because He loves us.
He speaks to me, quietly and gently, yet matter-of-factly:
It isn't fair and it likely won't ever be, but I offer you more, more than fairness; I offer you grace and mercy, giving you more than you deserve and keeping you from the punishment you justly deserve.
Maybe I don't want fairness any more, but rather the grace of a loving Father, who gives good gifts to His children; the mercy of my Lord, who doesn't punish as I deserve but took the punishment Himself. This, this is what I want in me and flowing out of me. It wasn't fair that Jesus went to the cross for me, for you, for the sins of mankind, because it was all about grace.
Philippians 2:3-11 – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (NIV)
Prayer: Come Holy Spirit — full of grace and love — to indwell and pour out of this heart. Amen.