Christian comedian Mark Lowry says, “God spreads grace like a 4-year old spreads peanut butter – He gets it all over everything.” Including you and me.
But how do you get to peanut butter in the parking lot? Well, it was just an hour ago we headed for the worship center fresh from a week of hand-to-hand combat with an enemy hell-bent on our destruction. The score has not always gone in our favor. Scarred, guilt-ridden, unworthy, disappointed. Aliens by birth; sinners by choice. We feel desperately unworthy to be there but desperately needing to be there.
We approach the front door half expecting to find it locked. If He treated us as we deserve we would not be allowed to enter. Some of the battles of the week have not gone well. Temptations that by this time should be history are still too much with us. When we reflect on our failures, our stubbornnesses, our compromises, our rebellious hearts, we cry out, “O what a wretched person I am; who shall deliver me…?” We reach for the door – and find it open. Amazing.
In the course of the hour that follows, though, the trajectory of our journey changes. As we worship we have the distinct sense that the Father was standing out in the road all the time, impatient for us to arrive. He looks lovingly past the scars and the guilt and the shame, and His hug is so real it leaves no doubt we are welcome. In fact, He is in the business of fixing all of the damage done by sin. We call it grace – and He spreads it everywhere.
As we begin the recital of our defeats He raises His hand and says, “Wait, I already took care of those. Let’s talk about victory. I know that’s why you’ve come.” So we present our request, “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” So in this sacred hour the Son comes up. Hope is reborn. Yesterday’s grief has been neutered. And why not? God has a thing about joy. It’s the most frequently mentioned emotion in Scripture.
A few minutes later the church parking lot is the happiest place in this zip code, because it’s filled with people whose lives are radicalized by his Amazing Grace. Spread all over everything. Kind of like peanut butter in the hands of a 4-year old.