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Empty Pools  

Somewhere after the 30th floor, our ears popped riding the elevator up to the observation deck of Chicago’s Hancock building. Traveling vertically at 20 miles an hour, the 1,030 foot trip took a mere 45 seconds. But if our ears popped a little, our eyes popped all the more once reaching the 94th floor. Peering out, it’s impossible not to take dozens and dozens of photos.  

To the east, Lake Michigan is equal parts turquoise and tranquility.   To the north, a curving shoreline invites imagination and envy (who are these people who can afford to live on the lake?).   Staring west,  the gray grid of urban life—bursting with self-importance at ground level—loses any sense of bombast from the heights of the Hancock.   

Only until you are standing on the 94h floor do you finally see what we saw that hot afternoon: empty pools.  The roof of many a Chicago high rise is graced with a swimming pool (imagine the cost!). And there are more than you might think.  They are beautiful.  They were also empty of any swimmers.

Puzzled, I zoomed in on several of the photos I snapped—no swimmers.  It was a hot day—a perfect day—to be in the pool with the kids or by yourself. What could be nicer on a Saturday afternoon?  Alas, there were pools—but no swimmers.  Why?

Might this be a metaphor of how you and I take advantage—or fail to take advantage—of grace?  Like those rooftop pools, grace is expensive, costing  Jesus His life. And—like the pools captured in my pictures—though plentiful, grace is often under utilized.

The grace of forgiveness, the grace of release, the grace of freedom, the grace of a fresh start, the grace to fail and try again—amazingly, these pools are often left untouched. 

The result of all that graceless living is cranky Christians.  Christians reluctant to forgive or be forgiven.  Christians content to measure themselves and others by a weary, works-oriented scale that condemns but never consoles.   

How long has it been since you took a swim in the pools of grace?  It's time to plunge in!  Time to go deep in the waves of God’s infinite lovingkindness.


And the grace of our Lord was more than abundant , with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. —1 Timothy 1:14









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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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