Psalms 130 (NIV) "Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;  O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.  If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?  But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.  I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.  My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.  O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.  He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins."
We all like getting. We all like receiving. We all like to be given gifts and presents and we all like God’s grace. We sing about it. We count on it. As a matter of fact we rely on God’s grace as if our future depends on it - and it does.
Grace, which we call and sing as amazing, is GETTING what we DON’T DESERVE.
In college I had a class called Modern Drama. I took the class in January where the students would take just one class for four weeks. We read short dramas and then we had tests on them. We were supposed to understand the hidden message that the author was trying to convey. Apparently the message that I thought the author was hiding was always different than what the teacher of the class thought the hidden message was and as a result I failed my first couple of tests. I went to the teacher to try to get help and I guess I did, since my test scores starting going up, from an F to a D to a C minus. It was time for the final exam. I needed to do well on the final exam to pull my solid D up to a C minus for the class and my GPA.
Right before the final exam a winter blizzard came through Ohio - it closed everything down for days, including the college. Final exams were cancelled. You could only imagine how disappointed I was that I could not have an opportunity to pull my grade up for the class. I also know that you can imagine how excited I was when my grade came through and the teacher gave me a C for the class. I got something that I didn’t deserve - that’s grace.
Again, we like getting - but are there times we can enjoy not getting?
Some years ago, I was late heading to a doctor’s appointment. Maybe the best description of my traveling would be to use the 15th Century term of - Godspeed. It wasn’t long before I went under a bridge and there sat a state patrolman. As soon as I flew by him, his lights came on. I pulled over. He took my license and registration, went to his car and then back to mine. He asked me if I knew why they issued tickets. I stumbled for an answer. He told me that tickets were a means to teach people to slow down and be safe. He then asked if he would give me a warning would I slow down and drive safe - I said yes and I did.
I received mercy - I DIDN’T GET what I DID DESERVE. On that day was I happy about not getting a ticket? Absolutely!
In this lectionary reading of the Psalms today, the writer of Psalm 130 cries out for mercy. Why? Because in verse 3 we see that the record of sin was too great to ever overcome. He was asking to NOT GET what he did deserved, because with the Lord there is forgiveness.
On that day at the side of the road I was forgiven. The radar evidence was too great to overcome. I DIDN’T GET what I deserved, a ticket, and instead I DID GET what I didn’t deserve, and that was a pardon.
At the foot of the cross I received mercy - I DIDN’T GET what I deserved, but Jesus did get what He never deserved when He took upon Himself my sins and yours, so he could offer us what we could never deserve - grace.
What’s your record of sins? Call out to God for mercy and you too will receive God’s amazing grace!