Bracelet of Grace
I was reading something that author and speaker Bob Goff wrote a few years ago about boats and nylon bracelets, and it got me thinking.
Apparently, people who spend a lot of time on or around boats, fishing vessels, and the like will take a piece of nylon rope, put it around their wrist, and then melt the ends together.
This produces a virtually unbreakable "bracelet" that can be used to help grab their wrist if they fall overboard into the water, and can't get back into the boat.
I've had my fair share of moments when I have tried to scramble back into a boat after being in the water (by choice, mind you), and I get how hard it would be to pull yourself back in if you were tired, and didn't have the strength.
It got me thinking about the story of Peter when he got out of his fishing boat during the middle of a storm to walk on water--just because he wanted to do what Jesus was doing.
The other disciples stayed in the boat, but no Peter. When he saw Jesus walking on water outside the boat, Peter wanted to do the same thing. Who wouldn't, right?
Then Peter walks on water. One of only two people in the entire Bible to do such a thing. But as he is walking on water, he looks around and sees the waves, sees the improbability of what he is doing, and begins to sink.
And Jesus lifts him up and walks him back into the boat.
There was this quote from Goff at the end of the passage that really resonated with me, and I've been thinking about it ever since:
That’s what God does; that’s what grace does. God never asks us to get ourselves back in the boat as if we don’t need [God’s] loving grip. [God] isn’t waiting for us to prove ourselves. Our biggest successes don’t qualify us, and our even bigger mistakes don’t eliminate us. [God] comes to us before we even know we need [God]. - Goff