One Saturday afternoon, myself and my Dad decided to trim the hedges on our front porch. The work was well overdue but the one thing holding us back was that we didn’t have an electric hedge trimmer. Previous attempts to tame the growth had to be done with a pair shears. Sure that’s a nice workout, but with the state these hedges were in, we required more firepower. So we purchased a brand new state-of-the-art electric hedge trimmer the weekend before. Dual action, diamond grounded blades and 450 watts of pure unadulterated hedging power — we’d reached the big time now.
We unboxed the trimmer and put it to work. Having never really handled a power tool before, I was anxious that I’d somehow manage to slice off my hand. Thankfully, both hands remain intact. So we removed all the packaging, plugged the device into an extension cable and watched those diamond grounded blades shred up that bush. Satisfied that all was in working order, my dad left me to complete the job.
I moved over to the side of the hedge where the branches became more stubborn. It felt like a lot more effort was required to trim the side when compared to the top. Then I came across one particularly tough band of branches, so I gave it all I had, thinking I was now a gardening expert and nothing could wrong.
A small overly underwhelming yet utterly devastating explosion came from the trimmer, bringing the blades to a grinding halt. Ignoring it, I tried to switch it on again but it wouldn’t work. Reluctantly, I brought the trimmer inside to investigate but it didn’t take long for me to figure out the issue. Following the power cable, I saw that I had cut it in two. I felt so stupid. Because the cable was hidden in the hedges, I couldn’t see it and so when I thought we had a thicc branch on our hands, that was just a manifestation of my overwhelming idiocy.
“Dad, we have a problem.” I told him when I saw him seconds later.
I held up the two ends of the cable, expecting a berating or a beating or both.
“Ohhhh! That’s okay son, it was an honest mistake and it could have happened to anybody.”
“I’m really sorry Dad. Obviously I’ll pay for a new one.”
“Oh forget about it! Let’s take it back to the shop and see what they can do.”
I couldn’t believe the serenity and grace with which my dad handled the situation. I’d just broken a not-so-cheap hedge trimmer which he purchased and he did not get angry about it. If anything, he just seemed more concerned about my safety.
“As long as you’re not injured. That’s the most important thing.”
“Yeah, yeah. I’m fine.”
This whole thing got me thinking about the grace of God. The world has painted a warped picture of who He is and what His grace means for us. Loving, patient, slow to anger, quick to forgive — it doesn’t matter what you’ve done or how stupid and far away you feel from deserving such an extravagant love, it’s there for you whether you expect it or not.
Me and my dad went back to where we bought the hedge trimmer. He told them what happened. They inspected the product. No questions asked, they gave us a new one free of charge. I couldn’t believe it. It’s happened many previous times when we try to return something at a shop and they interrogate us. No such situation here. It was as if they knew I would screw up (not a bad assumption to make in general) and had already paid the price for my failure. The parallels with Jesus are so evident.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 NLT