Have you ever gotten into a tough situation and started looking for an ESCAPE HATCH? The bullets start flying and the danger starts rising, and you try to find a magic portal, or a secret door, or a time machine, or a port key, or a universal referee who will call time out on your behalf. Have you ever felt like that?
I have. Many times.
In fact, I can’t count the number of times I have said something hurtful or done something reckless or followed my heart straight into trouble, and instead of standing up and facing the consequences of my actions, I tried to plan an escape route. I say that to my discredit. The truth is, none of us should be surprised when careless actions produce hurtful results. In those moments, we should all expect to “face the music”.
Interestingly enough, many Christians expect God to provide an escape-hatch for the consequences of sin. After all, they reason, God is a God of Grace, and Grace erases the penalty of sin. So why on earth is He allowing me to go through the things I am facing right now?
This attitude represents a misunderstanding of Grace. Charles Swindoll explains it this way:
“Grace means that God, in forgiving you, does not kill you. Grace means that God, in forgiving you, gives you the strength to endure the consequences. Grace frees us so that we can obey our Lord. It does not mean sin’s consequences are automatically removed. If I sin and in the process of sinning break my arm, when I find forgiveness from sin, I still have to deal with a broken arm.”
Do you get that? A broken arm is a broken arm whether I am forgiven or not. The same thing is true in other arenas of life. When we ignore God’s Word and live according to our own desires, we suffer. And sadly, that suffering extends beyond us. Those close to us suffer as well.
Galatians 6: 7-8 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
Paul said that we reap what we sow. Now listen to this carefully – we are all planting seeds. Every day as we make your way through life, we are sowing seeds. Those decisions that we make extend beyond the moment of action. Those words we speak last even after they escape our lips. The attitudes we present; the integrity we demonstrate; the way we treat other people – all of these represent seeds that we plant in the soil of life.
And one day, in some way, those seeds will grow . . . and get this – God has never promised to protect us from those things. He won’t leave us, and He is willing to forgive us . . . but a broken arm is a broken arm whether we are forgiven or not.
Take a moment today and ponder what seeds you are planting in your life. Remember, God’s Grace will pick you up when you fall . . . but His Wisdom can prevent you from falling. In fact, the escape hatch God provides is often before we fall in the first place.