Laurie Soliday

Berlin, Germany

An Undeserved Gift

A few years ago, I was leading a summer project of American university students to Germany.  It was an opportunity for them to experience German culture and also explore what Germans thought about God and spirituality.  The time for us to head back to the US came, and we were standing on the train platform waiting for our train to go from Freiburg to Frankfort where we would fly home.

The guy I was leading the project with said, "Does everyone have their luggage, passport, plane ticket?"  As soon as he said plane ticket I thought, "Oh, no!"  I remembered seeing my ticket earlier, but I didn't remember putting it in my luggage.  At that moment, our train came and we had to get on.

In Franfort, the first thing I did was tear open my luggage.  But I didn't find a plane ticket.  I felt horrible.  Here I was the one leading this project, and I'm the one who forgot their plane ticket.  We made some calls, and it seemed we got things worked out.  But when we got to the ticket counter at the airport a few days later, it became a huge hassel.  They made us collect all the tickets from the group (about 30 people) to find exactly where mine fit in the group.  I felt bad because I'm holding the whole group up from getting to our flight.  I finally get a ticket, but no seat.  At the gate, I wait and wait, while everyone else gets on board.  I think, "This is what I deserve."  I'm the one who forgot the ticket, I deserve to have to wait. 

I finally get a seat number.  Everyone else's number had been C67 or C73.  Mine was A6.  I thought, "This is what I deserve.  To not sit with all my friends and have fun."  I get on the plane and I'm in buisness class!

I sit down in a big, cushy chair, and immediately a flight attendant comes and offers me a drink.  I say no, thinking, "I don't deserve this!  I deserve to be stuck back in coach.  I'm not supposed to be here!"  At that moment, I heard a small voice saying, "This my grace to you."  Grace is an unmerited gift - something we don't deserve.  It's just like I didn't deserve to have Jesus die on the cross to pay for everything I did wrong so I could have a relationship with God.  God reminded me, "You right.  You don't deserve this gift of sitting in coach.  But it's my free gift to you.  You now have the choice to sit there and be miserable, or enjoy what I've given you freely."

So the next time the flight attendant came and offered me a drink, I said yes!

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