Faith, manual typewriters, and comprehending the grace of God

The message of the cross is completely foreign to our human nature.

Our human design is to pursue and conquer. The fabric of our creation is to protect and survive. The program of our human mind is set to achieve and discover. The temptation to be like God coaxes our inborn pride that celebrates human potential and goodness.

The message of the cross does not begin with what I can do, but to receive what has already been done on our behalf. And this message goes against everything that our mind and body is telling us to ignore. Why? Receiving the gospel and trusting in the promises of Jesus Christ requires a massive rebooting of our being — a total reprogramming of our soul. It is an acceptance of the fact that we are utterly dependent on someone else for our salvation.

Understanding grace. Comprehending God’s love. Relying solely on the power of God to receive the forgiveness of sins. These gospel blessings are received by faith but difficult to grasp.

It’s like trying to explain a manual typewriter to my eighteen year-old daughter. She is baffled how anybody could have used such a thing to type a paper.

Do you recall typing your term paper in high school or college? I can still recall the peculiar noises of a manual typewriter that rang a bell at the end of the line and a person had to press a lever to make the cartridge return. White out, ribbons, carbon copies — marking a line with a pencil to know when the end of the page is coming — I remember the late nights of typing papers into the wee hours of the morning.

[What do you remember about using manual typewriters?]

A manual typewriter is a simple design. We can peer at the moving parts and understand how it works.

I look at a computer and am completely baffled how it works. All I see are the results on my computer screen. It’s completely foreign to my human comprehension.

All I know is that I turn the computer on and trust that it works.

Perhaps we can approach God’s promises in the same way. We don’t completely understand how faith works or fully comprehend God’s grace. Our human nature on its own has no power to grasp it. Faith receives the knowledge of salvation and claims all the benefits Christ won for us on the cross. In that simple trust, the Holy Spirit transforms me into a new creation. The results appear before me in that heartfelt desire to give God thanks in my words and actions.

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