We’re All Sinking | The Real Message of Grace

Michael and Ruthie at the beach

Michael and I went to the  beach with my family and had the best time! My cousin has a new little baby and he is just the sweetest little guy. The beach always reminds me of God’s goodness and grace–and I try to remember every time I see the ocean just how far He’s carried me. One day on my run, I was overwhelmed with this story I share with you today and the powerful reminder of how no matter where we are and what we’ve done, we can always come back to the ocean.

Hundreds of us stood with toes in the sand as our senses adjusted to the smell and sound of the ocean, our eyes to the darkness.

Forty people had chosen Jesus and we came to watch them be baptized in the great ocean stretching before us. The men and women had decided life didn’t work without God and He was the only way life in a broken world was bearable—joyful, even at times.

We all arrive at this place sooner or later where the smoothness of our life comes to a screeching halt and suddenly nothing makes sense.

That’s usually when we see God, not because He’s just shown up, but because the confusion of life opens our hearts to something more than all of this. Because life with God isn’t all smooth sailing, but He promises to be at the helm of the boat even when the waves look enormous.  

They stood in a line in front of us, all wearing dark shorts and shirts—waiting for their turn to walk out into the ocean with the pastors. As each person stepped forward, the sweet notes of “O How He Loves Us” traveled from the band behind us and we all started to sing. One by one, they walked out into the black ocean we immersed in the sea.

If His Grace is an ocean//We’re all sinking

A friend was standing in that line, but I couldn’t pick her out. She wore the standard navy shorts and t-shirt the church had given her, so she looked the same as everyone else. The hours she spent curling her hair and perfecting her makeup seemed frivolous now. When I was baptized, I did the same thing. I wanted to have a relatively ‘sin-free’ month and look good right before I went into the water—no matter if I knew I’d look the same as everyone else at the end—soaking wet. In a way, I think we all have the tendency to want to clean up the debris from our sins before we approach God.

We think we have to clean up our act, get a few ‘good weeks’ under our belt, fix our sex addiction, add a little community service to brighten up our image, be nice to our mothers—all before we approach God. Don’t we?

We think God only embraces little sinners, you know the ones who lie and hurt people’s feelings, and turns up his nose at the sight of people who’ve really screwed up, whatever we consider big sinners.

So we grit our teeth and try to scrub ourselves of dirt, put on our Sunday best, and wait for the feelings of our rottenness to subside.

But how silly we look cleaning and scrubbing and fretting about the grit under our fingernails—to stand before the ocean of God’s grace and be completely soaked.

It’s good for me to remember that line of men and women standing before the ocean in the darkness—all dressed the same and starting from the same place. I think most people have the message of grace all wrong.

You don’t need to take a shower before you visit the ocean. You don’t need to make promises or have a clean track record. Because soon you’ll see no matter who you are, where you’ve been, or what you’ve done, you come out of the ocean soaking wet like everyone else: sons and daughters dripping in the perfect grace of God.

Have you ever struggled with believing that you need to get your act together before you took your problems to God? How does this story strike you? What is the real message of Grace?

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  1. [...] “We’re All Sinking – the Real Message of Grace” – Do you curl your hair and put on makeup before swimming? So why do you do that with God? From Ruthie Dean. [...]



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