In a scene of the 1998 movie “The Horse Whisperer”, a horse trainer agreed to train a severely traumatized horse. A cell phone accidentally went off as the trainer approached it. The ringtone freaked out the nervous horse, so it broke away. Some of the bystanders wanted to go after it, but 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. We must be free to develop original thoughts. 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.
In the gospel records 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.