I walked in the darkness back to my room. Usually we had a night light on but the bulb had burned out. I tried not to think too much so I could fall back asleep right away. I obviously succeeded at not thinking too much because, as I lay back down on my bed, my bed was not there! I fell through the air to the floor, crashing into my 3 year old’s box of toys as I landed. Hopefully no one heard that.
“Are you OK?” came from my sleepy husband. He had heard. I found where my bed actually was and assessed the situation. I had pulled a muscle pretty badly but otherwise, I was alright. As I pondered how that had happened, I realized that I had tried to lay down where our bed had been a few months before.
Have you ever done that? As I was thinking about how foolish I was, I realized that wasn’t the first time I had done something like that…you can “miss the bed” spiritually too.
Many years ago, I had a small credit card debt from buying a computer (it was about $1200). I didn’t have a big income and I expected it was going to be a long while before I paid it off. When Hurricane Katrina hit the southern coast hard, I made the decision to go down and help out with relief efforts. I quit my job, and wondered how I would pay off this debt. As I worked down there, God provided for me. I made sure that any money people gave to me to support me was not used to pay off my debt, and even still I paid it off far faster than I expected to when I had an income.
That experience made me believe that if I got into debt but was doing the things of God, that God would pay off my debts. I relied on what I thought I knew about God several years later while I was teaching at an impoverished inner city school. I used my credit card to buy things I needed for the classroom and my school children, and expected since they were for a good cause, that God would pay it off. Well, it took me a couple of years to repay this debt, and God did not do a miracle to help me settle it…it took some hard work from my new husband and myself to pay it back.
This is where I could just get mad at God for not coming through for me when I was doing work for him, but that would be a bit like getting mad at my bed for not being there when I tried to lay down on it. God does not change…the Bible tells me so. God’s promises do not change, like the size of my bed. It doesn’t change, it is always there. I can rely on it if I only know where it is! That is why it is ever so important to go back to the Word of God written in the Bible. When we go off-track in understanding God, it isn’t because he has changed, frequently it is because we forgot what the word really says about a matter. I trusted in God’s grace over his word. He says “Be in debt to no one” but I trusted on his grace to me at an earlier time as being a rule above his word.
But I was not relying on his promises, I was relying on his grace. Say that you have the rule in your house that your children can have television time once they make their beds. Your child fails to make his bed one day, but he had helped out around the house in other areas and has been a pretty good guy. You might say “That is okay, go ahead and watch your show on tv today.” That is grace. But if your child starts to believe that he no longer really needs to make his bed to be able to watch a show, it is likely you will find the need to remind him of the rule. He is relying on your grace rather than on the rule you have established.
Grace changes. If you try to lie down on the bed of grace where you did last time, you will crash to the floor. There are no rules for grace or it wouldn’t be grace, it would be a promise. The promises of God are trustworthy. Let us keep in God’s word so that we know where the bed is.