I watched from the porch as the grandkids opened a container of sidewalk chalk. They wrapped their little fingers around the jumbo chalk sticks and began to draw misshapen squares and triangles on the blacktop for a game of hopscotch. Several of the numbers inside the shapes were written backwards, but they never noticed; they only cared about hopping their way to the finish line.
Occasionally someone would stumble and lose their balance; they would brush the dirt from their hands and start again. Every failed attempt only increased the grandkids’ determination to reach the square box that read ‘FINISH’.
There were no excuses or blame games if they missed the mark and no one shouted not fair, I quit or refused to try again. With every throw of the stone, they mentored each other with loving support and words that encouraged.
While I listened to the kids’ chatter, a scripture came to mind that summed up the simplicity of the gospel of Christ and the hopscotch path we each take to reach the finish line of salvation.
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
Later that afternoon it rained. When the sun finally poked through the clouds, the grandkids ran outside and found their hopscotch course had been washed away; the blacktop had become a clean slate. Without hesitation they grabbed the bucket of chalk and began to redraw the shapes. They had another chance to start all over again; another chance to reach the finish line.
When we can’t quite hit the mark and the finish line is out of our reach, Jesus rains down mercy and forgiveness. He wipes away our failed attempts in the game of life and lets us start anew.
If the stone in your hopscotch game of life has fallen outside the boundary lines, don’t give up. Pick it up and start again. God stands ready to guide us (the stone) in the direction of His eternal finish line.