I got to learn another lesson of grace on Monday as I was driving home from work. Normally traffic on the way from work can get a little congested to say the least. I had pulled into a long turn lane line moving slowly as the lights went from red to green to yellow and back to red. As I was nearing the place where I knew I would make the next light a car next to me pulled up and put their turn signal on to get in the turn lane. No problem. I stopped far enough back and went ahead and waved for them to pull on over in front of me. Then it happened…no courtesy wave. No acknowledgement or thank you for my kindness. My heart began to tell me, “You deserve a courtesy wave or something for being so nice.” Ever have that happen before?
As I sat there behind this car my mind raced to all sorts of ridiculous yet sinful thoughts about what had just taken place. I really thought I deserved something for my goodness. As the light turned green and I took my left hand turn behind this ungracious person the Holy Spirit began to work. All of sudden I was reminded of what I deserve. God reminded me of what I deserve for acting sinfully against him as I was at that moment. Reality set in at that moment when God humbly reminded me that the only thing I deserve is hell. That’s it. I cannot put it simpler or plainer than this. I deserve hell. This person in front of me had not done anything sinful. They did not do anything to bring about my sin. They were innocent in the sense of my reaction. The sin was my wicked heart demanding something I thought I deserved. What arrogance!! What selfishness!!
God graciously humbled me as I drove behind this car for awhile. My mind and heart were suddenly awakened to the reality of God’s grace in my life. Think about this: How many good gifts and blessings has God graciously given to you in which you were not thankful? Each breath of air should cause us to humbly thank our Creator for his good gift of life. The fact that I was on a road, in a car, alive with eyes to see and accident free for my drive home from work should have been enough to say thank you; yet I was not satisfied. I thought I deserved more. There was no thanks to God but rather a robbing of his glory and praise to fulfill my prideful desires. But as I continued down the road I soon remembered God’s grace in sending his Son, Jesus Christ, to die as my substitute. The very sin I was committing in my heart and the wrath I deserved for that sin was poured out on Christ in his death. What I wanted was a courtesy wave but instead I received more grace from the Creator of the universe. What a great God who loves such a wicked sinner. "By the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).
Grace upon grace,