In a scene of the 1998 movie “The Horse Whisperer”, a horse trainer agreed to train a severely traumatized horse. As the trainer approached it, a cell phone accidentally went off. The ringtone freaked out the nervous horse, so it broke away. When some of the bystanders wanted to go after it, the trainer shook his head and motioned to let it go. Off it went – galloping into the wide open spaces of their Montana Ranch. The trainer had just given the horse space.
Running wild, human beings also need a lot of space; God’s grace allows us more than just wiggle room; He gives us room to breathe so we are able to develop original thoughts. We must be free to be creative. God lets us come to our own conclusions and simply refuses to manipulate us. This also means that He lets us crash and burn without preventing us from making mistakes. Calling on Him, however, the Lord will always help us up when we have fallen.
There is a dark side of the Moon and there is a dark side of humanness. The Son of God went to the dark side and experienced human misery and pain. There is no deep valley that He hasn’t walked through. This means that Jesus understands what we have been through.
Sometimes we have a hard time forgiving ourselves. “So does Jesus”, we assume. Thankfully, the opposite is known to be true. Jesus has no trouble forgiving us and He never shames or blames us. It does not help to beat ourselves up over our imperfections; life will be a whole lot easier when we quit the blame game.
On one occasion Jesus compares Himself to a hen gathering her chicks. Maybe not the most flattering image for a male role model, but beyond gender roles we impose as humans, Jesus wants to get a point across. Under His wings we all have room to fail. He never runs out of grace.
The next time we make a mistake (and there will be a next time because we are human), we need to remember: God’s grace gives us plenty of space.