Tuesday night was another typical junior high football night for our family. I had chugged through the heavy 5:00 traffic to drive 24 miles that ended up taking over an hour before I finally arrived at the football stadium to watch our youngest play in his game. I sat in the stands wishing the low setting Texas sun would quickly retreat as the humidity and heat were magnified off the metal benches.
The game was picking up pace aside from the multiple penalties made by both teams. Close to the end of the second quarter I saw the yellow flag was once again on the field and #44 shook his head out of frustration. The coach sent in a sub and motioned for our son to come out. Shoulder to shoulder Richard stood next to the coach and listened to his instruction while the next play unfolded. Nodding, he realized his mistake and the coach sent him back in after the whistle.
While Richard was given a second chance for his mistake that is not how it always works in the world. Often times first time blunders result in failed attempts that have no grace for another try. The worldly standard is based off of reward and punishment. You get it right, you get a reward. You get it wrong, you get punished.
Sadly, many translate that same standard to God believing He removes Himself until we ‘do better’. This perception implies that God bases His relationship with us off results versus love, and it is simply not true. God’s heart is never to distance Himself because of our behavior, in fact, He calls us closer when we are out of control or lost or spinning. Just like the coach called Richard over, not to punish him, but to pull him in and lean into his ear with encouragement and direction. God longs to do the same with each of us.
I am so grateful to have the full revelation that the worldly standard of reward and punishment is not the heavenly standard we live under. By heaven’s standard we have freedom through our blood, bought identity as sons and daughters of God. We don’t work for it, we can’t screw it up and we can’t pay for it. His love is free and His love releases us, absolves us and cleanses us from a worldly standard that none of us ever conquer or thrive under.
The truth is nothing you do, or have done, will ever disqualify you from having a relationship with your heavenly Father. He is always moving closer towards you, drawn by His extravagant love for you. Because of His over-qualifying love, you are chosen and adored. Your heart is His deepest desire. (photo credit: Tina York)