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  • Writer's pictureRev. Carlene Appel-M.Div.

Grace and 4 Year Olds

Updated: Aug 1, 2018

Recently, I heard a Christian comedian (yes, there are such people) saying the most delightful thing. He said, "God spreads grace like a four year old spreads peanut butter; He gets it all over." Thank-you Mark Lowry!!!

Now I'm a sucker for a good illustration because word pictures if they are any good at all, are such effective tools to convey meaning. There are few people who can't picture a 4 year old eagerly spreading peanut butter on a slice of bread....and the counter, cabinet, chair, floor, and being so proud of their accomplishment. Clorox has a recent commercial where Mom peeks into the bathroom and sees her probably 4 year old son, mopping the floor in earnest. She's really proud of her boy you can tell. That is, until he puts his mop into the white porcelain "mop bucket." You know, the one with the fancy flush handle. You quickly get the picture. One of the best word picture artists from whom I learned the fine art of painting with words, is the now sadly disgraced Garrison Keillor. As I listened to another adventure in Lake Woebegon, he painted a word picture of freshly fallen snow on a hillside so well, my mind's eye could see the individual granules of snow there.

Scripture is full of word pictures. Ephesians chapter 1 affirms that beautiful and funny word picture about God, peanut butter, grace, and four year olds in verse 8. But let us start at verse 6 for a fuller picture. " the praise of his glorious grace that He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that he lavished on us." Wow! That just blows me away. It also paints me a picture of a Coach for the winning team getting drenched by them with Gatorade at the Super Bowl, in celebration of their hard won victory.

For victims of assault or abuse of any kind, it's very normal to feel so dirty and like damaged goods, that they believe even God would have nothing further to do with them. "How could He love someone like me?" they ask. Because, Ephesians 1 affirms that He spreads His grace all over us like a four year old spreading peanut butter. So too, those battling alcohol & drug addictions, those who have hurt others or committed crimes for which they are incarcerated, but are genuinely sorry and truly repentant. Or the runaways who ended up on the streets and had to do things they are terribly ashamed of just to survive, or survivors of sex trafficking. I could go on and on, but if any of those are you and you wonder if there is any hope, any love, any forgiveness to be had, be comforted by these verses. Every tear you cry God knows about. For situations like these, Jesus died on the Cross. For you and for me.

Maybe you've been a taker all your life. "God so loved the world He gave." Whoever is sorry for their sins, wants to 'fess up and let that only Son He gave have their heart and life, do it and God will make you into a new creation with your slate wiped clean. A second chance. Jn 3:16-17 The God of the Bible is the God of second, third, and fourth chances if you're truly sorry and want to come back. Read the story of the Prodigal son. He understands that His creations sometimes trip and fall flat on their faces. He understands how strong addictions want to hold onto you. He understands you were just trying to survive when you did that disgusting stuff just to buy a meal. He understands the violence you endured at the hands of the pimps and the traffickers if you didn't turn enough tricks some nights.

Turn it all over to the Great Physician, who can forgive you, lavish grace upon you, heal you, and make you whole...perhaps for the first time in your life. Read Ephesians 1 in its entirety. In fact, I invite you to read the entire letter. Composed of 6 short chapters, but packed with oh so much hope and goodness, you'll find yourself smiling like that 4 year old joyfully spreading peanut butter all over, like God spreads grace. Let me hear from you what the Lord has been showing you as you read through the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians.

Until next time.......

Love and Blessings

Rev. Carlene

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