Grace Happens…or it should
“What’s so amazing about grace?” Author Philip Yancey posed the question in his book of the same title. Truthfully? I find grace most amazing when it is extended to me.
Flying over long distances in crowded, cramped aircraft, I appreciate the grace moments when quite unexpectedly I have been upgraded to a spacious “Business Class” seat, or been offered a seat exchange so a nice man can sit with his lovely wife which moves them both to “Coach” and me to comfort, and also when we had our request in Amsterdam for leg room for my very tall husband on our flight back to the US answered by seats, not in the emergency row, but in the “First Class” cabin. Unexpected grace.
I also see grace in the colors and artistic designs and attention to detail my Father used when He created the world. As we have recently discovered more and more, the universe is a big place with billions of stars and unknown galaxies ablaze with glory and light and color, awesome in their splendor! Until the moment they were “discovered”, only God and His angels had seen the beauty of His creation. Yet, He created this earth with all of its wonders and hues to share with us!
As I sat on a strip of sandy beach between a river and the Atlantic Ocean, watching the small white and black bird hover six feet above the river before suddenly darting down to dip its beak into the sun dappled water, its tail slightly bent up in a manner I had never seen before, then darting back up to its observation position, I marveled at a creation so precise that even through brightly reflected water, it could still see its food from such a distance! Moreover, I marveled at the grace allowed to me; having the opportunity to see the rainbow sherbet sky as the sun set beyond the bird, hearing the gentle wash of waves rushing to the beach behind me, feeling the cooling breeze touch my face…that the Creator of all that is painted this for me to enjoy…unexplainable grace.
When I am tired and grouchy and my family loves me anyway…grace. When I am down and discouraged and God sends a little child to touch my heart, or a grateful person to warm my soul, showing me His plan and purpose for this moment…grace. When I leave home, flying out of the country when so many assignments are not yet completed, but they need to be before I return, and my grown daughter takes the burden on as though all the responsibility is with her and her heart is weighed down by concerns she may let me or Point Hope’s children down and her family (perhaps begrudgingly) allows her to work too many hours in a day…grace abounds. When this same daughter is discouraged and her sister assures her she is doing a great job and that their mother is very proud of her, that her work is more than acceptable, indeed, that it is appreciated more than words can express and any other thoughts are just lies Satan is trying to sell…amazing grace.
It is always grace moments and their memories that sustain me when “ungrace” (to quote Mr. Yancey) happens. The woman who is ungrateful and rude because she doesn’t receive immediate attention at our office when Point Hope is trying our best to pay her six children’s school fees, but there is a protocol to follow…ungrace. The woman who used the money Point Hope gave her to pay for her disabled son’s school, only for us to find she left him at home and paid for her healthy daughter’s tuition, then refused to produce a receipt and instead accused us of stealing money from her…ungrace. A car I allowed to merge in ahead of me on the freeway later cut me off and wouldn’t allow me to change lanes…ungrace. When I jump to conclusions and judge a situation and the people involved without seeing them through God’s eyes…ugly ungrace. When a small child’s dress is hanging to her waist and left tied there as she tries to pull a portion of the material up to cover her bare chest and all it will take is two minutes and a safety pin to run the cloth through the dress loops, tie a bow and “presto!” she is fully dressed and can run and play, but the safety pin wasn’t produced until pressured and the child is berated for wearing such a garment in the first place…unconceivable ungrace.
So, what is so amazing about grace…it is that it so often comes when we deserve it least; in fact, we never deserve true grace. We live our lives struggling to forgive others while demanding that we be forgiven and granted grace; we are in the middle of an ungrateful, ungracious, ungraced world with which we often side, at the same time we are working to prove we can be worthy of His grace. That’s the beauty of God, we can never be worthy, but He wants to grant His grace anyway. As Yancy says, “…grace does not depend on what we have done for God but rather what God has done for us.” We get what we don’t deserve. We don’t get what we do deserve. That’s God.
So when it is my turn to dispense some grace, I shouldn’t be so stingy. There is not only so much grace to go around that if I use it all today there will be none for tomorrow! I should remember, as C.S. Lewis said, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” I need to be a grace extender. To offer unexpected words of encouragement, to share what I have with someone who doesn’t, to thank the people who bless me, to seek to serve. Because there is not just one most amazing thing about grace, there is an amazing God who created grace; I live in His grace daily. Others who don’t know Him should see His grace reflected in me and they should be running to Him, not running away from Him because of me and an ungrace attitude.
This entry was posted on Sunday, July 25th, 2010 at 11:25 am.