There is something irresistible about grace.
No matter who you are, you find drawn to it, like plants to the sun or children to ice cream.
You just cannot help yourself – it is that good.
Last week, I was scheduled to give a presentation in my theology class. Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. Not a bad read – I may actually read them if I ever find a spare minute. The section I was to present was “On Regeneration and Repentance.” I finished reading it the day before the presentation (oops), and was up quite late the day before I was to present, frantically attempting to recall what I had read so I could put the bare bones on a powerpoint presentation.
The long and short of it is that I did not have the material mastered when it was my turn to present, and that came through in my presentation. I knew I did a terrible job (at least, according to my standards). After class, I emailed Ken, my professor, my powerpoint slides, and apologized for my lack of preparation and poor presentation. I assumed I would receive the grade I felt I earned – probably somewhere in the low B or C range.
I was blown away when Ken emailed me back:
“I reject your assessment of yourself. You get an A.”
Now, to most of you (those of you who are not inside my head, anyway), this probably seems insignificant. “Great, the prof decided to give me some slack!” Or “Maybe I did not do as badly as I thought!” This would have been a normal person’s thought process.
Nope, that’s not what Rachel thought. Rachel was overwhelmed with feelings of shame and undeserved-ness. Rachel stubbornly could not accept a grade she knew she did not earn.
Rachel thought, “Why is Ken giving me an A when I could have, indeed, should have done so much better? I cannot accept this!”
Rachel even teared up as her thoughts spun in a totally different direction:
“Is this what I will be like whenever I stand before the Throne of Grace? Jesus will extend his hand to me, welcome me with complete love and grace…and I will draw back, too ashamed of my filth and unrighteousness to accept his saving grace. ‘I cannot accept your gift, Lord. I do not deserve it.’ Is this what my reaction to my Savior will be? How twisted am I? What is wrong with me?”
I emailed Ken back, again asserting my lack of preparation, and now asking, almost begging him not to give me that good of a grade. He wittily responded the next day with “you were predestined to get an A, whether you like it or not”. Well played, sir 🙂 I parried back with some psychological principles about conditioning…still stubbornly refusing to accept the grace he was graciously extending to me.
A busy weekend pushed the matter out of my mind, until I had my weekly meeting with Ron Kopicko today. Among other things, I described this situation and my frustration with it to Ron. He confirmed most of my thoughts about my reaction, and added another:
The grace of this grade was not based on what I did, it was based on who I am. Ken knows I am an “A” student. Ken also knows some of my personal struggles. So, for whatever reason, he has been teaching me a lesson in the irresistible grace of Jesus.
This is why I love Spring Arbor. There is just something irresistible about the people here. The love, mercy, and grace of God permeate this place. Its a drug I cannot get enough of, cannot live without.
This grace is irresistible.