The summer before my father died in 1940 my sister and I were living with a farm couple who were members of our father's church. We had stayed on several farms during our father's long struggle with tuberculosis. Much to my consternation our mother mailed two pair of sandals to Mr. and Mrs. Mack, the farm couple, with firm orders that my sister and I were to wear them around the farm. My sister, Jeanette, bless her, wore her sandals with no complaint. But because it was summertime, I was less than excited about wearing sandals or any other kind of shoes. It didn't take much time for me to come up with a scheme to get rid of them.
Mid-morning, the day following the arrival of the sandals, I ambled down to my favorite spot, a tree-shaded swimming hole fed by the most beautiful stream I had seen in my seven years. I had my new sandals on, of course. I climbed up and lay down on a wide log which stretched across the swimming hole. The cool shade was refreshing in the summer heat. I took my sandals off, laid them on the log and put my battered straw hat over my face. Through the holes in my hat, I could see four-winged dragonflies and some bees droning overhead. When I turned sideways on my log perch I could see crawdads or crayfish daring in and out of their dark hiding places at the bottom of the swimming hole. I tried to appear as "laid back" as possible should my sister or Mr. Mack witness what I was about to do . With my big toe, I slowly slid one of the sandals to the edge of the log. It tottered a bit then plopped to the water below and drifted down to the crawdads in the dark waters of the swimming hole. I was confident my sandal would never be seen again. I "relaxed" on the log in my shady paradise until I heard Mrs. Mack's dinner bell at high noon. I raced up to the farmhouse carrying my one sandal. "Where is your other sandal?" Mrs. Mack asked. I began telling Mrs. Mack a lie about how I had lost it in one of the alfalfa fields. "Never mind," Mrs. Mack said, "Mr. Mack will go with you to look for it tomorrow morning when he goes back to the fields." Needless to say, I had some difficulty saying my prayers that night.
In then night I was awakened by the sound of rain - torrential rain with lightning and thunder. Steamy and wet as it was the next morning Mr. Mack asked me to show him in the field approximately where I had lost my sandal. We walked back and forth in the wet alfalfa. Of course, there was no sandal to be found. Finally giving up, Mr. Mack said, "Let's go see the damage the rainstorm has done along the creek." We walked downstream to where the swimming hole had been. To my amazement my favorite log perch had washed away. I looked into what was left of the swimming hole and my sandal was gone! We walked further downstream. We stepped over a log and to my utter amazement there was my sandal in the mud where it had washed ashore! Already feeling the weight of conviction for the lies I had been telling, I immediately confessed my wrongdoing to Mr. Mack. I pulled my sandal out of the muddy silt and headed for the farmhouse where I told Mrs. Mack the truthful account of what had happened. I vaguely recall a paddling later that evening from Mr. or Mrs. Mack, but I clearly remember asking God during my evening prayers to forgive me for the sin I had committed. The release I felt knowing God had forgiven me was overwhelming. As a seven-year-old child, I experienced the grace of God! There is nothing in the world like it!
Have you or your children experienced the grace of God today or in recent days?
I am finding more and more that children and young people do not admit to wrongdoing or repent of wrongdoing because they are made to believe they have only "made bad choices." Sin, repentance, asking God to forgive sin and seeking restoration with God and man, are things that appear to be missing in the "Christian culture" of our age.
Every culture in the world, including ours, must answer to God. The Apostle Paul writing to the Romans said, "But where sin abounds, grace did much more abound" (Romans 5:20). God's provision of grace, His forgiveness, and restoration works in our lives and in the lives of our children only when we acknowledge that "sin abounds." Bad choices often lead to sin. Sin must be acknowledge. It must be forgiven.
Grace is God's unmerited favor extended to each one of us. God's son, Jesus, came to earth, died and rose again to provide salvation for all of us. When we call upon God in sincere repentance, He forgives and restores us into fellowship.
If you fly regularly on the airlines, you know at the beginning of every flight a flight attendant explains the plane's safety procedure. the attendant demonstrates an oxygen mask which will automatically drop out of the ceiling of the plan
e should there be a loss of oxygen to the cabin. If that occurs you are to put a mask on yourself first, then on any children who are with you. The same pattern is true pertaining to the grace of God. Experience it yourself then carefully explain it to your children. It is even more essential that fresh air! (1)
(1) Dr. Paul A. Kienel, Christian School Comment, Vol. 24, No. 1