~ by Jerry Bridges ~
Four-year-old Sam followed his mom as she led the way to the kindergarten Children’s Church class. She turned a corner into his classroom and began talking to his teacher, when something on the wall caught his eye – a small red box
He looked carefully at the box and read the words, “Fire Alarm Pull Down.” Of course he had no clue what the words “Fire Alarm” meant, but he recognized “Down” because of the arrow. So Sam found a chair, climbed up and pulled the handle down.
As soon as the fire alarm began to blare, Sam put his hands over his ears and sank to the floor. Mortified, his mom found him there just a moment later. She groaned, realizing exactly what had happened. It was going to be a bad day….
Fortunately, one of the associate pastors who knew Sammy, arrived on the scene and learned what happened. He ran back to reassure the pastor it was a false alarm and quickly alerted the fire company.
Because the congregation rented the public school building for their Sunday services, the associate pastor couldn’t turn off the alarm. He had to call the school principal to come and take care of it.
So for the next half hour, the senior pastor valiantly carried on the service, ignoring the intermittent, loud blare of the alarm while the congregation politely endured it all.
Because of Sam’s age and because he didn’t pull down the alarm purposely as a prank, Sam received grace that morning. Except for the extreme embarrassment that it was their son who caused the ruckus, the school principal, the pastor and the congregation extended grace to Sam’s parents as well.
But every day, Sammy’s mother thanks God for His grace to raise her bright, high energy son. She knows it’s only a matter of time before the little guy strikes again. Like the time he tried to make popcorn by himself, almost starting a fire in the microwave because he pushed the automatic start button twice…. Or the time he didn’t want to go to sleep so he figured out how to open his window and climb out to watch the alligators in the canal behind his house….
The point is that we are a lot like Sam, getting into all sorts of scrapes in our lives. Even on our worst days, God is there waiting to be gracious to us. No, He won’t prevent us from facing the consequences of our actions. But He will be there to help us through them, making sure we learn from our failures. He brings beauty out of our ash-heap experiences. That’s God’s grace.
He walks with us and even carries us during the worst days so we will want to walk with Him during the good ones.
Father, please help us to remember your love and grace on those good days when we think we can make it all by ourselves! Amen.