Wednesday, October 24, 2012
It's All Grace
So, I posted on Monday about extending grace to our families and loved ones--a post I had written two weeks ago. Then, I immediately wanted to delete the post. Why? Because this grace thing is so hard for me. I don't want anyone to think I've got it. Or that I'm preaching. I don't and I'm not.
It is the lesson that God seems to be reiterating most to me right now. For example, at least three times in less than 24 hours, I had to seriously stop and think about grace. And since that twenty-four hour time span, I have not been able to stop seeing everything as grace!
I helped in AWANA and the young man I was helping had to answer this question: What does it mean to you that Jesus is truth and grace? We discussed this for some time. I'm going to skip over the "truth" part for now just to keep on point. (I know you're shocked.) My new friend was seriously struggling to figure out how Jesus was grace. So, I defined grace first: a gift you don't deserve. He still couldn't quite make the connection. So, I tried to explain: Jesus is the gift we don't deserve; God gave us Jesus, and Jesus gave His life so that He could save ours; we have life through Jesus. I of course had to water this down to about a second-grade level, and expound each point more fully, but that's the skinny version. (I'm just thinking of you today.) The funny thing is that I had to think about how Jesus IS grace. Teaching always teaches me more.
I saw these words on Facebook, posted by Ann Voskamp: It's all grace. And I seriously couldn't stop wondering what in the world she meant.
I prayed with my girls over our lunch of cheese, crackers, and grapes. I prayed that God would help them understand His grace. After I prayed, I asked my big girl if she knew what grace was? She nodded her head yes, then hesitated, and changed the nodding to shaking. No. "What is it?" It is a gift that you don't deserve. And I used preschool as an example. Every week the kids get to pick a treasure from the treasure box if they are good and haven't lost any stickers off the sticker board. I gave a hypothetical situation: Suppose Ms. Donna had to take away everyone's stickers because you all wouldn't listen and obey. Suppose no one had earned a treasure from the treasure box. But, suppose, Ms. Donna allowed all of you to get a treasure anyway. That would be grace, a gift you didn't earn or deserve.
And I had come full circle.
It's all grace. Because every single breathe and everything that fills it is a gift that's undeserved. Concrete or abstract. It's grace. The earth, the planets, the perfectly balanced air we breathe. The trees, the birds, the crickets that live in my grass, and yes, even the black widow spiders. Because all of it creates a perfectly designed environment in which we can thrive. My husband, our relationship, our families that God tied together before He even created us. His job, our financial blessings, and even our limitations. Grace. Sleepless nights, the mundane tasks, criticism, physical pain, and horrific heartache. All our trials, grace. Because they are specially designed to make us into the image of Christ. And the process itself is...amazing grace.
I'm asking God to show me His grace in all the unlikely places. Like the lady in China who lost her parents, her husband, her son, an unborn child (the government forced her to have an abortion), and her freedom (she was imprisoned for telling others about Zhu Yesu, Lord Jesus). Still, she managed to see God's grace. Her cell mate that reported her illegal religious activity to the guards, until she came to the Lord and became her prayer partner. Grace. The guard who was her constant tormentor until he found Christ and became her brother. Grace. The suffering she endured in order to be an example of Christ to those around her. Grace.
In what unlikely place have you found grace lurking? What do you see today as grace?