I read a story on Jeff Goins’ blog about a group of teenage prisoners in America who played football in a team called the Tornados. They were given permission to play against other high school teams in the area. One of the teams the Tornados played against was a Christian school and the coach from this school had an idea.

It was the last match for the season and he knew that the Tornados had never had any supporters, no family, no friends to cheer them on. So he wrote an email to his school community asking them to come to the match and support both teams. To fill the visitors’ stands as well as their own stands.

What happened was nothing short of miraculous. People came, lots of people came, they cheered and screamed on behalf of these young men who questioned their value to society. They loved those that were much easier to despise. These prisoners were guilty of violating the law, of taking and hurting the very people who were now cheering for them. Some players even admitted to crying after the game, because they were finally being seen as real human beings and by complete strangers.

What grace. What awesome and amazing grace. The kind of grace that really is good news to the poor, the oppressed, and the imprisoned. They didn’t deserve such cheering. And yet, that’s the best part about grace – being lavished with something we could never merit.

It’s a beautiful picture of what God does for us. God cheers for us, even though we have no right to expect it. We’ve failed to measure up to God’s standards for our life, nevertheless, he’s on our side, cheering and supporting us. When we experience grace like that it causes us to change. It’s not punishments and rules that make us change but rather it is grace that changes us from the inside out.

Let’s pray …

Father God,

Thank you for this story that reminds us your grace.

Thank you for your amazing grace.

Remind us that you are cheering for us, despite the fact that we mess up.

Thank you for your death on the cross that makes grace possible.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

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