I had always wanted to go to a piano bar. My friend and I heard about a quiet little place in downtown Colorado Springs, so we decided to check it out. I had visions of feeling classy while sipping a martini by the piano. Think old Hollywood glam.
After an early sushi dinner, we wandered over to the piano bar and realized that we were hours too early. Apparently, people who enjoy the night life don’t come out until it’s actually night. Not willing to give up the vision, we decided to go next door to wait. We wandered up the stairs and ended up at the grand opening of a rooftop bar. The entire wall was a big firepit overlooking a beautiful view of the city. And it was completely empty.
We sat by the fire to have just one martini as we chatted. It was our first time trying a martini and we were feeling pretty fancy. They had the cutest names like Lemon Drop and Farrah Fawcett. The waiter brought us these tiny little drinks rimmed with sugar. We decided to try just one more.
Hours later, we realize that the bar had filled up while we were by the firepit gazing at the city, just talking and laughing. We got up to head to our classy evening at the piano. I instantly realized I was in trouble. I have never been a get drunk kind of girl. Not even in my younger years.
I picked up my phone to call my husband and I see that I have missed a bunch of calls from him. I tried to call him back and I couldn’t do it. I mean, I physically couldn’t get my body to do what my brain was begging it to do. My husband kept calling me and I couldn’t even answer him. I was scared and I was mad at myself and I just wanted to go home. I eventually ended up on a bench out front. So much for classy.
I am not sure how long I was there when I felt a presence standing in front of me. I opened my eyes and there was my husband just standing there with his hand out to me. That precious man drove around the city for almost two hours looking for me and what he found was an awful and ashamed mess. Yet there he stood with no condemnation and no anger or disgust. He was just there to rescue me.
I kept apologizing and he kept telling me to stop. He was just happy to have me safe with him. I was worried that his peers had seen me and I had embarrassed him, but he didn’t care about them. He cared about me. He was not even willing to consider letting me sit in my shame.
This is just a small picture of the kind of love God has for us. He doesn’t care that we made a mess of things. He doesn’t care that we are sitting in a big pile of muck. He loves us. He doesn’t want us to sit in our shame. He goes to the farthest lengths to find us and reach out his hand. He isn’t looking to hit us with condemnation, and he forgives completely. He finds us where we are and pulls us out of the muck.
But we have to choose to take his hand.
I shudder to think how different this story would have been if I had refused to take my husband’s hand that cold Colorado night. It’s the same with God. If we don’t take the rescue he is offering freely, we get a much different story than the one He offers.
The truth is that I deserved any harsh response my husband could’ve given me that night. I was irresponsible and I put myself in a potentially dangerous situation. He had every right to be angry. But instead he chose grace. His compassion led to mercy.
In the same way, God has every right to hold us accountable for our sin. But he chooses to give us every possible chance to take his hand and accept the grace and mercy we do not deserve. Beauty for ashes. Healing for pain. Life for death.
His love searches to the ends of the earth and I for one, want to be found again and again.
But you, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit.Psalm 86:15 MSG