A Gracious Mistake

How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!

Psalm 116:5 (NLT)

When I was younger, I was the business manager for an aerospace company in Southern California. We made parts for aircraft. Specifically, we made the structural components. Much like with building a house, where a builder uses lumber for the structure, aircraft builders use something called aluminum extrusions which are welded together and shaped to make the skeleton of the plane.

Part of my job was to ensure that we were delivering exactly what the customer ordered, ensuring the quality of the product and that it met certain specifications. This generally involved reviewing the schematics (drawings) of the parts, ensuring we had the right equipment available to produce the extrusion, and then cost it out for the customer. Once the review was done, we’d begin production.

Early in my career, however, I made a big mistake. The customer sent over the specifications for the desired part and I went about getting it ready for production. It was a big order involving the production of about 1,000 pieces. The order was placed, and we manufactured the parts. There was just one, small problem. I didn’t double check the schematics, and the blueprint we were using to produce the parts, all 1,000 of them, was the wrong one. Just before we were ready to ship them to the customer, the mistake was discovered. I had to let the owner of the company know that the parts we produced were nothing more than scrap metal because they were not what the company ordered. This would cost our company over $80,000 in production costs alone.

The meeting with the owner went nothing like I thought. Yes, the owner was upset. But, he was more concerned with how we could make sure it didn’t happen again. He didn’t want to fire me. He wanted me to learn from my mistake and grow from it. Needless-to-say, I never made that mistake again.

Our God works in the same way. He is a kind, merciful, gracious God. Yes, He sees our mistakes. Yes, He wishes we didn’t make them. Yes, He still loves us. No, He doesn’t condemn us. He wants us to grown in our understanding of ourselves and of Him. How good He is!

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