This past week I went on vacation to Omaha, Nebraska. (I know, I know, why would someone from Colorado vacation in Nebraska? This may seem like a mystery, but Omaha is charming and the zoo is the best in the country, so it was a great weekend get-a-way.) My friend and I made reservations at a hotel downtown near an area called The Old Market. This area is filled with brick streets, fantastic one of a kind eateries, and a unique charm that welcomes those who visit. Our hotel reflected The Old Market’s charm.
We checked in, got our key and made our way to the room. As we were situating ourselves, we notices some trash in the shower and there was also water in the shower as though someone had taken a shower earlier and had not cleaned it. I called the front desk and told them what welcomed us. Apologetically, the young man who managed that evening asked us to come downstairs and he’d give us a new room. We gathered up our things once again and went back to the front desk. We talked and joked and laughed with the young manager. He too questioned our sanity when he found out we were from Colorado and California and were choosing to vacation in Omaha. He then said, “I have a room for you, it is a bit of walk and you’ll have to carry your bags up a staircase, but I think you’ll like where I’m putting you.” We took our key, made the way down the hall and up the stairs to the back side of the hotel. We opened the door of our room and there in front of us was a beautiful two story suite. We giggled and laughed as though we were school aged girls and hurriedly entered each room, climbed the staircase, and discovered all of the uniquenesses of our home for the evening.
An undeserved gift. An unexpected blessing.
I immediately felt that God had given us a present an undeserved mercy. Our weariness turned into energy and we were in awe. We immediately called downstairs and thanked the young manager for our room, gathered our things and walked around The Old Market as though we were just seated at the place of honor at a banqueting table.
As I’ve had a few days to reflect on this event, I have continued to marvel at the grace of the upgrade. I asked the Lord what I was to see in the gift and the following came as a result:
1. The trash in the shower was the initial grace, for without the trash, we would have simply been content to remain in our small hotel room. What is often deemed as bad, may potentially be an initial grace.
2. The young manager showed us kindness and mercy. He didn’t have to give us an upgrade. He also didn’t have to give us a new room. The old room could have simply been cleaned again. But mercy was given. Mercy is undeserved compassion and that is what we received that evening. We received undeserved compassion as we were given something we could not afford and did not earn.
3. We were content with a small room. We had no vision for what other options were even available. And, God knew there was more and wanted us to live in the above and beyond. Above and beyond what we can ask or imagine is truly that and there is no way to see it before it is a reality.
4. There are times when it feels like we have to go the long way and we want an elevator or short cut. I at times choose the way that is easier, thinking it must be from Jesus, because it is more comfortable, when the longer harder way might be, in reality, the way that holds the gift.
5. Undeserved gifts give life. They renew and rejuvenate. When the gift is received, both the giver and the recipient are blessed.
God loves to bless His children. And the blessing given on this day, was not found in the material, but in the kindness and mercy given. The blessing was in the trash in the shower. The blessing given was out of my control, it could not be earned and it was a picture of God’s grace.
As I continue to reflect on this particular evening I’m reminded of the fact that as humankind, we received a gift of kindness, mercy and grace when our Creator breathed His life into us. We are the only species of creation given life by the very breath of God. It is God’s gift of breath that gave us life, it is God’s gift of breath the remains with us and it is God’s gift of breath that leaves us at our final moment. Our very breath, is God’s deep grace, rich mercy and remarkable kindness.
I pray today that you will have eyes to see God’s blessings and grace in your life, in whatever circumstance you find yourself.