This from Max Lucado:
"It was supposed to have been a day of dreams coming true! But across town, Jack Autry was in a hospital, struggling to stay alive. Chrysalis and the women in her family found the perfect bridal gown in Amy Wells’ shop. One Jack might never see. Because of his cancer, he couldn’t come to see his daughter try on her dress. And because of medical bills, the family couldn’t buy the dress yet for him to see.
"Amy, the wedding shop owner said, 'God clearly spoke to me.' She told Chrysalis, 'Take the gown and veil right now to the hospital and wear it for your daddy.' Jack couldn’t believe how beautiful Chrysalis looked! Three days later Jack died.
"Amy’s generosity created a moment of cascading grace. God to Amy to Chrysalis to Jack. Isn’t this how God works? He doesn’t just love; he 'lavishes us with love!' His grace 'exceedingly abundant'—'indescribable!'
“'Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.' Ephesians 3:20-21″
I witnessed this phenomenon today...
Preschoolers singing songs for Jesus' birthday. Teachers pouring grace out on the kids as they teach them the songs. Kids pouring grace out on their families as they sing for us.
But the Grace cycle began long before the teachers. You see, the preschool is non-profit, supported by a church. Grace is poured out on the preschool staff by the congregation that supports them physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially... The congregation receives grace from family and friends, employment and gifts. Employers receive grace from their customers and clients and partners. And they receive it from...
On and on the grace flows. From you to me and me to you and us to others and others to us! We are all tributaries flowing along the dirt and rocks, splitting apart to reach dry lands, flowing back together to receive nourishment and energy, and running on until we all reunite in an ocean of Grace. Grace that runs deep. Grace that mysteriously moves through the depths of this earth and invisibly moves through the vaporous air to circulate right back to the heights of the mountains, from whence it flows down again. Pouring out from an invisible-yet-tangible Powerful Source, cascading down through innumerable recipients, and rising like incense back to the Source. Pouring, cascading, rising. This is the mysterious, wondrous, amazing cycle in which we find ourselves, recipients and givers (givers unaware) of lavish grace.
Isn't it wonderful to imagine that an all-powerful and capable God chooses to use us? Even today!
Ephesians is one of my very favorite books of the Bible. I particularly love the first chapter, a portion of which I memorized and, while doing so, God opened my eyes to some depths of His grace.
"In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding...." (Eph 1:7)
Everything He's done for us has been done with all wisdom and understanding...of what we would be like, how we would fail Him, how we would forget Him and neglect Him. Still, with full wisdom of what we would do and not do, He chose us. With full understanding, He made us. Knowing in advance how we would stumble, He lavished love and grace on us. And lavishes still. And then He does something miraculous; He pours His grace right through us like a sieve, pouring in us and splashing right out on everything around us. All the while the sprinkles from others' sieves are splashing on us! Oh, His unfathomable goodness.