The Moment When The Penny Drops

(Photo by Selma Komisky)

The Moment When The Penny Drops

By Marta Oliveira

There are some things we think we have known our entire lives, until the moment comes when we actually understand deeply what we thought we have always known. Some call this the moment when the penny drops.

I was probably on my way to work, walking, headphones in and a thousand thoughts rolling at the speed of sound. There was this person who was getting on my nerves already for a while, and I was just trying to come to terms with it. Here I was walking with God, seeking and learning His ways, and therefore committed to keep my mental posture in line with what I knew to be true, that this person was loved by Him. I had no doubt about this, but I was having a hard time understanding how could it be. For all I could see, this person was not only living away from God, but was also doing things that were clearly not nice at all. So I said, ‘Lord, I know you love him, but obviously he doesn’t deserve it’. His response was swift, precise, and I will never forget it. He said, ‘Marta, you don’t deserve it either,’ and the penny dropped for me. I didn’t deserve God’s love, regardless of all the things I thought I was doing right, specifically the fact that I had embraced this faith journey. His answer may sound harsh, but it was nothing like it. His words were merciful and extremely kind, leaving in my heart the conviction of this truth, that none of us deserve His love, and yet, He loves us all.

To walk with God means to know Him, just as we get to know a friend. The more time we spend together, the more situations we live where His character is unraveled to us. On that day, I came across the fact that God’s love has nothing to do with us, with what we do or don’t do, but has everything to do with who He is. I came across the fact that God is gracious, freely giving us this unconditional love, with no strings attached. In the Psalms, I read some lines that, sure thing, look like penny drop moments for David. ‘Lord you’re so kind and tenderhearted to those who dont deserve it’ (1) is one of those moments that basically was echoed in my own walk with God thousands of years later. No wonder, for it’s the same God. We’re just getting to know Him in different times and contexts, but the conclusion is the same, for He is the same. This line in the psalms is itself an echo of another passage (2) where God, almost in an autobiographical mode, proclaims that He is gracious. And He doesn’t change (3). What He said back then is still true today. He was gracious yesterday, still is today and will continue to be tomorrow.

Anyone who decides to walk with Him will eventually come to the same conclusion. At some point, there will be a penny drop moment, which is far from being the end of this ‘getting to know God’ journey, but will definitely be a bright milestone, a huge turning point. From that moment on, you will see things differently. You keep walking with God and the realization of his grace towards you humbles you in such a way that your response is similar to the one of Moses (4): you bow and you worship Him. The more and more you understand the magnitude of His grace in light of how much you don’t deserve it. You see how much you fail and how much He forgives. How long you take and how patient He is. How often you stumble and how always he lifts you up. How much He gives and how nothing He expects in return. And you start living differently. You see people differently. You give differently. You love differently:

Grace gives abundantly and it shows me how to live to be generous and always freely give what I receive to be patient with myself and with those who cross my way to do everything with love and love everybody, everyday.

  • Psalm 103:8 (TPT)
  • Exodus 34:6
  • Malachi 3:6
  • Exodus 34:8