Mystified, I glanced around...at animal posters, a string of Christmas lights, the skin of a long-dead critter, an adorable baby picture, and...cooties, definitely cooties.
Not enlightened, I had to ask, "What stuff on the wall, Buddy?"
"You know, the stuff you need all the time. The letters you put on the wall."
I'm somewhat strangled by emotion. Laughter and tears can be felt at the same time. Intensely.
The "stuff" I "need...all the time." It appears that I have modelled failure...often? I know immediately to what stuff on the wall he refers.
Those letters I have stencilled on the wall in the hub of my home where they are needed often and desperately. G...R...A...C...E. Grace.
His cry for grace pierces my heart. I burrow through tangled covers to wrap my arms around the sweating, heaving chest because I absolutely cannot refuse this cry for grace. Impossible to be anything other than entreated.
"So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him..."
Indeed. Why do I hesitate? Frantically, foolishly, trying to remove stains with my own filthy hands. Desperately trying to undo what's been done. Justify. Defy. Clarify. Who did what and when. You. Me. Us.
What has been done cannot often be undone. There is only one glorious cure. Grace. His divine presence entering the mess we've made. Empowering the wronged to forgive. Granting the guilty the privilege of standing free of shame. All to be made beautiful. Even that which cannot be undone.
Those letters have marked that spot for much more than a year, but it was only today that I recognized the irony of the fact that the "time out" bench has sat beneath those letters all this while. The spot in which one sits to catch one's breath, to breathe deeply before any more words explode. The spot to think for a moment before anything else thoughtless erupts into the atmosphere. The spot one only gets sent to when it's too late. When the damage has been done.
Except for grace.
"So let us boldly approach the throne of grace.
Then we will receive mercy.
We will find grace to help us when we need it."
Come and sit with me a while? Let's stay long enough. Long enough to soak up so much grace that all shame and distress is washed away. Long enough that grace begins to run over and wash the chip off the shoulder. Long enough to be filled to overflowing with grace for that one who feels like a thorn in my side, a pebble in your shoe, the spark to our fuse. Long enough to worship.
Let's rest a while under the writing on the wall.
Because we all "need some of that stuff on the wall."
Matthew 7:11 NLT
Hebrews 4:16 NIRV