I’d gone to Japan to visit my niece, Kelly, whose husband is in the Navy and stationed at Yokosuka. Since the Japanese drive on the left side of the street, the base is also oriented that way, which of course is a challenge for all the Americans when they arrive there.
Every time I’ve been in a country where driving is on the “wrong side of the street,” I’ve never wanted to drive. Thankfully, I haven’t been forced to. I know it’s possible to learn and my niece Kelly has done that very thing. I felt completely comfortable as she drove us around.
When we traveled around on the base, I remembered that she had told me about a little courtesy given to those who are new. On the car of anyone learning to drive on the left side, a magnetic sticker with a specific design is put on their car to alert others that this person is learning.
At one point as we drove on the base, we saw someone turn into the wrong lane. When we saw that familiar magnetic sticker on their car, we said, “Oh, they’re new.” Kelly graciously waved to them to let them know it was OK. She understood.
As I saw this exchange, I thought of grace. The grace of giving understanding to those who stumble. Grace to give help to someone who has fallen. Grace to remember that we once didn’t know how to drive on a different side of the street.
Actually, in the Christian walk, we all need grace from others because none of us has become perfect. In many ways, we’re still all learning to drive on the different side of the street–in the Kingdom of God. God has already given us the grace to welcome us into His kingdom through salvation. And He continues every day because we continue to stumble and at times, fall.
All of us are wearing a spiritual magnetic sticker that says, “Hey, give me some grace. I’m new at this.” Regardless of how old we are in the Lord, we’re still “new” in it in some sense. Every experience and challenge is a new one; we are learning to trust the Lord in new ways.
Who in your life needs some grace? Who in your life, or even yourself, is turning into the wrong side of the street? How about waving graciously that it’s OK and to try again? How knows how soon you’ll need someone to give that same wave to you?