A One Time Exception

ex – cep – tion [ik-sep-shuhn] – noun – an instance or case not conforming to the general rule.

Last week, my family and I had the marvelous opportunity to be on mission in Corinto, Nicaragua (more about that in another post). In the middle of the week, late one evening, we had just wrapped up share time and several of us were sitting in the dining area of the mission house conversing and trying to catch up on emails and Facebook fodder. I was working on my iPad and came to a picture that I was going to share with the rest of the folks in the room. From a position of being seated in the chair, I picked the iPad up, smart cover and all, and motioned to the others to look. All of the sudden my iPad slipped the bonds of my hands and landed right on its corner- perhaps the weakest spot it could possibly have hit – fracturing the glass screen like lightning in a summer thunderstorm. The entire room gasped in disbelief. Though my flesh would have motivated me to light the airwaves aflame with some choice words at certain points of my life, inexplicably, I remained calm. In that environment, amongst utter poverty, how could I complain about a cracked toy.

Don’t get me wrong. It was upsetting. I have grown very attached to my iPad over the past few months. I preach and teach with it numerous times per week. I use it to take notes and calendar in meetings. It has really streamlined a few things in my life.

Upon our return to the states, I determined that I would try to take it to the closest Apple Store, West Town Mall, Knoxville, TN. I made an appointment with the Genius Bar. The Apple Store Geniuses are individuals who have been trained at corporate headquarters in Cupertino, CA, to handle virtually any Apple/Mac related issue. I was told by a good friend that perhaps they may have an idea. People asked me if I had purchased the insurance. That would be a “no.” I came to find out, however, that Apple does not offer anything that would cover dribbling your iPad on a ceramic tile floor.

Yesterday afternoon I made my way to the Apple Store. I had a 4:45 appointment with a Genius (how much of a big head would you have if your job title was “Genius?”) After arriving early and waiting just a few minutes, Carlos came calling on me. It went something like this:

Carlos: “So what’s up with the iPad today?”

Tiger: [Silently places the iPad down on the table and opens the smart cover]

Carlos: “OOOOOOOOoh!”

He asked how it happened and I told the whole story from my vocation to being on mission in Nicaragua finishing with honestly confessing that it was just my bonehead mistake of dropping it on the floor. After examining everything, Carlos said, “Well, the replacement cost we offer on this model is $349.” I know I must have grimaced a bit then.

“There is no way of replacing the glass alone?” I asked.

“No. Because of the impact damage on the corner, that wouldn’t be possible…. BUT…”

He paused for just a second and a glimmer of hope shot up my spine. “There may be something we can do,” he continued.

After a few clicks on his iMac, Carlos turns to me and says, “Under certain circumstances, they allow us the latitude to make a one time exception. I can get you a new iPad today and it will not cost you anything.”

I nearly fell out of my Apple chair. One of the non-Genius Apple lackeys marched from the back room and presented my new iPad to Carlos. He got it registered, I signed a few papers and I walked out of that store on CLOUD NINE!

That, my friends, is a picture of grace. I received a one-time exception which allowed me to skate on a mistake that could have resulted in a loss that would have been a significant blow to my economy. Instead, I left the store completely restored. It makes me think of another exception I have received.

Because of the mistakes you and I have made, the Bible plainly says that we are deserving of death and eternal separation from God. That is the cost of our mistakes– which the Bible calls sin.  But God made a one-time exception. Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary, one time for all time, granting all who would receive it, an exception or exemption from the general rule which would have called for death. Just like I walked away from Apple with a brand new iPad, you can walk confidently with God in a brand new life– a life more abundant than you can imagine.  THAT is infinitely better than a new iPad.

Incidentally, as you can well-imagine, I am an even bigger Apple fan than I was two days ago– and I was a big fan then. So if you are about to make a computer purchase, you can guess which way I would steer you. You PC People need not comment. I will pray for your salvation.

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