Last year about this time, my wife and I were locked in a battle with the local school system over their planned changes to my autistic son’s class placement. If you are interested, you can read the blog post I wrote back then by clicking here. For a period of about six to eight weeks, we did everything we could think of to show those in authority that changing Jacob’s class was a bad idea. We attended school board meetings, talked to other parents and teachers, wrote letters and emails, made lots of phone calls, and prayed a bunch. Just when we thought we had run out of options and didn’t know what else we could do, we got a phone call that Jacob would be assigned to the same class and teacher the following year. God stepped in in a dramatic and powerful way so that it was clear that He was the one who handled it.
Fast forward to this year. We started hearing some rumblings a few weeks ago that the school system was going to try and make some changes again. Last Tuesday, the parents of the affected special needs children met with the principal and heard the unwanted news: Jacob and the others would be moved out of the class they were currently in for the next school year. We started to gear up for another long battle – figuring out who we should contact, what we should say, whether education law was being violated, and so forth. We left the meeting with the beginnings of our battle plan in place.
The next day, one of the parents sent one email to one school administrator asking about the proposed changes. To our complete astonishment, this person gave us the answer we wanted to hear and the following day we received a call from the principal to tell us that Jacob would indeed be in the right class next year. We were extremely relieved and happy, but at the same time, I must admit I was a little skeptical. It couldn’t be that easy, could it? What’s the catch? Were we missing something? But it was true – there would be no battle, no need for emails or school board meetings. Jacob would be in the class that he needed and we didn’t really have to do anything to make it happen.
It occurred to me that this is exactly why God’s grace is so hard to accept. Last year, it was easy for me to believe that we had won. Even though God had come through at the last minute, we had worked really hard to bring about that result, and so it felt much more real to us. In contrast, God came through for us this year, but it didn’t seem real because we hadn’t even played a part. It is much easier for me to accept that I’m going to heaven because of all the “good” things I’ve done instead of the truth – that it has nothing to do with me and everything to Jesus paying the price all on His own. Even though I know that amazing truth intellectually, I still have a ways to go before I can really accept it.
For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8)