This analogy was one used on a youth retreat sometime last year. It has stuck with me since and I share it with you know because I think the concept of grace is something that so many people fail to understand. When we as Christians say that we are "saved by grace", do we really understand what that means?
I will use myself and my son Dean in this analogy, so let's dive into some chocolate cake, shall we???
It was a beautiful day in Ringgold. The sun was out, the weather was comfortable and Dean was ready for an afternoon in the sun. It had rained the night before and Dean's front yard playing grounds were still slick and muddy. When Dean was released from the confines of his mother's living room he made a mad dash for the yard and began his playtime right in the middle of the largest mud puddle there was. He was in little boy heaven!! It was not long before Dean was covered head to toe with the greatest thing known to a 2 year old boy, MUD. Of course at that very moment is when he realized that all this playing had made him very hungry and that it was time for a snack. So mud-covered and fancy free he marched to the front door and ran into his mommy's house. It was only after he had ran his first few steps that he realized the nature of his current appearance.... dirty.
Very, very, very dirty.
Dean turned around to look behind him and his eyes became wide with the realization that he had just committed the greatest little boy sin in the whole world... muddy foot prints on mommy's clean white carpet. What should he do? Go back out the door and find the best hiding spot in the whole yard in hopes that she wouldn't find him? Risk more footsteps by finding a towel and start cleaning up the mess? But it was too late, he heard her gasp as she walked into the front living room to find her mud baby and the products of his messy feet.
Cringing Dean looked up to be met with the scariest face known to man.... an angry mother. Her eyes darkened over as she gave him the look and his eyes started to well up with tears at the thought of what might happen next. She did not yell which usually was a bad sign. She did not say a word, actually. Letting out an exasperated sigh, she walked towards him.
Dean closed his eyes and was sure if he didn't see it coming that the spanking wouldn't hurt as much. He felt her hand take his hand and she said quietly "Come with me".
Dean's allowed himself to be lead by his mother, peering over his shoulder at the continued mess he was leaving behind. Why hadn't she spanked him right there? Where was she taking him?
They made their way through the living room, down the hall, through the dining room, and finally into the kitchen. What was she going to do to him? She let go of his hand and told him to stand there as she went to the cabinets and began pulling out plates. Then he saw it... the potential weapon of his demise, a big HUGE knife. Great, she had decided that a spanking or timeout was not a worthy punishment for such a muddy crime and he was now going to die, never to play in mud again. Tears began to fill his eyes again but she didn't come towards him with the knife nor did she speak to him.
Dean's mommy made her way to the fridge, opened it up and pulled out the biggest, chocolate cake Dean had ever seen. She took the weapon, I mean knife, and began to cut the cake, forming oversized slices. She cute a gigantic piece of this chocolate dream and placed it on a cake. Then she turned to Dean and with the cake on a plate in one hand, she gently took his other hand and lead him back to the dining room. Setting the cake on the table, she picked up her mud baby and sat him in his chair.
"Here sweetie, why don't you have a piece of cake".
Did she poison it? Was this a trick?
She kissed him on his mud-covered cheek and said "I love you, no matter what kind of mess you make. Now you eat while I clean up the mess"
So you see.. Grace is like Chocolate Cake.
Dean in this fictional story deserved punishment for his muddy mess monstrosity but instead of suffering a horrible consequence he was shown the greatest love. Forgiveness. And giving the greatest gift, grace.
Grace ceases to be grace when we did something to deserve it. It's grace because it's undeserved and free.
Have you experienced God's grace in your life?
Sometimes we make a big ol'mess of ourselves and we think that no one could possibly love us. But even in the midst of the dirtiest pile of mud, God loves you as His child and He longs to hold you and give you a big slice of chocolate cake.