I accepted her offer, but inside I was full of trepidation. Would I know anyone else there? Wouldn't I rather meet everyone when the group meetings began again instead of crashing some picnic I wasn't even prepared to attend? Would anyone else be as eager to see me and to have me there as this friend was to invite me?
I needn't of worried, of course. This friend allowed me to follow them to the picnic lest I get lost on the way. And the moment we arrived, she introduced me one by one to all the other members of the group that were present. When it was time for lunch, she handed me a plate and welcomed me at the table even though I had nothing to contribute to the meal. She asked me questions and brought me into their conversations, explaining the things I didn't know and clarifying the questions I had.
At the suggestion of another friend at church, I just picked up my first Max Lucado book at the library, In the Grip of Grace. In one chapter, Mr. Lucado is talking about Christ, as he takes our hand and leads us to the Father. I can imagine entering Heaven with trepidation. Is this gift for real? Is God going to change his mind when he has seen my past? Will His grace really be enough? And then I see Christ, coming to greet me with a hug and reassurances. He takes me by the hand and personally introduces me to God - not a formal introduction, but an excited, eager, introduction of a dear friend to his father!
I am one of these people Mr. Lucado is writing about. I think, yes, this grace is a wonderful idea, but really? Really? I mean, for some people, sure, they are good and wonderful and have loved God since the beginning of their life, but me? I've made some mistakes. Some captial-M Mistakes. I don't know if this grace thing is going to be enough.
It is. It always will be. It always was. Before I was created, before I ever sinned, God planned His grace for me. For ME!! (psst! For you, too!)
I Peter 1:18-20: "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake."