We've been watching the Olympics (of course) and mom and I decided it's stressful to watch Alpine Skiing.
Without warning, skiers succumb to the whim of the mountain.
athletes going full speed
holding nothing back
then, one minute mistake and suddenly they're launched airborne
crashing with force on the frozen ground
careening down the slope until they either hit an immovable object or lose momentum
there they lay
skis broken or ripped off their feet
their Olympic hopes gone
gingerly, they pick themselves up
bruised in both body and spirit they limp off the course
The commentators, usually retired skiers themselves, pointed out where the athletes went wrong and the causes of the crashes; positioning of the skis, course conditions, hitting bumps in the hill at a difficult angle, mental distractions and slow recovery after being airborne were a few.
But to us, the untrained spectators, the mistakes seemed minor, insignificant and at times undetectable.
Yet, mistakes were made, races lost, and Olympic dreams dashed.
Years of dedication, training, perseverance and hope gone in a split second.
Sitting at one of my kids sporting events recently, I had a conversation that left me uncomfortable. It took a little while for me to process why. This person (who I don't know very well) was doubting the faith of someone based on their actions. She decided they couldn't be a Christian because of some poor choices and, to her, faulty theology.
Now it's true that the Bible says we (Christians) will be known by our fruit, but it also says again and again and again that it's Christ who saves.
Jesus is the only one who lived a flawless life and could save us.
The rest of us are screwed up.
Time after time we start down our mountain and make a mistake and end up airborne and crashing onto icy ground.
We all do it.
We all mess up all the time.
And in instances when we don't mess up, someone else will, still causing a crash.
So what hope do we have? How do we get up after the crashes in life?
Divorce, abuse, betrayal, financial ruin, wayward kids, addictions, cancer, health issues...sadly, the list is endless.
How do we get up and face everyday? Sometimes every moment?
One of my favorite songs by Reliant K, Be My Escape, includes the words: "the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair."
Life in grace, indeed, is not fair. It gives us what we could never deserve. It allows for me to get up and breathe and go to work and love my family and serve and function and laugh and smile and feel blessed even in the midst of pain.
So, dear reader, let me offer this blessing that's uttered in one form or another 18 times in the New Testament alone:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 2 Peter 1:2
(to hear the song, go to track #6)