I’m a big fan on grace. I can tell you that while I’ve needed a lot of it and learned that I can’t be too proud in accepting it I still struggle to give it. Why is it so crazy that our human condition falls to the level of greed even when we’re talking about the last bottle of water for the heart in a desert of anguish. We would rather keep or receive grace and forgiveness than dispense it to the sick or needy.
My own life has pivotal revelations of grace as well as soft misty fingerprints across the window of my daily life. I remember the impact moments as times when I’m self absorbed. Sometimes for purely selfish indulgulent reasons when I’ve pursured my own interests and isolated myself from those who care and those I love. They’re times when I forgot about the big picture and was only interested in the icing on the cake. Those moments, that are more than a few, are painful not for the aching stomach full of icing from supping on lifes pleaures, but more for the accidents that ensue. The icing gets in your eyes and you end up driving at life’s high speed off the road only to make an impression on the bark of the neighbour’s tree. These are the times when grace drives up in a white ambulance, wraps itself around the wounds and consoles the heart through the recovery.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 6 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says, “In a favourable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favourable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 – 6:2 ESV
So what about those fingerprints? You leave them everywhere and don’t realise it unless you have paws covered in chocolate sauce like your 3 year-old niece. Unlike a toddler God tends to walk through the universe with fingers cleaner than freshly fallen snow. So how can you see the grace around you? Like a good detective it comes down to dusting for prints. Thats where that dusty old Bible might just come in handy. The more I look for prints the more I find. As I read the Bible I move through thoughts of self-aware concern based on my own failings. My sin, my life in a cracked pot is like driving over a series of potholes. The difference when driving with grace is that the potholes are filled in. You don’t see them but a smooth road allows you to lift your head and take in the view.
How can this amazing revelation of grace be forgotten, hidden or ignored? Why would someone who was once sick and now healthy then forget where the medicene could be found? How could someone who had come back from the brink of despair so lose sight of of the relief that moment in history brought. So much so that they are unable to remember where to point a fellow traveller languishing with the burden of sin and life. The burden we know as sin was answered at the cross when Jesus lifted it on to his own back and carried it to the point of death. He did it for you.
There are three responses to grace that we can own. For many the administration of grace is like running from the nurse with the needle. They aren’t sure if its good for them or not but they sense that submitting to the cure is an admission of the ill. For others grace is like drops of water across the gate of a sand encrusted mouth. They have thirsted after rightousness and like those mentioned in Matthew 5:6, they shall be filled. For many though there is no response to grace. Its not a matter of engaging or running from the freedom that grace affords, instead its an ignorance afforded by times of bliss that layer a cushion that can numb the senses to the genlte touch of grace.
20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:20-21 ESV
I was really grateful when a friend sent recently sent me a video of Jimmy Needham’s Grace Amazing. It was just the right tonic for the day and brought some much needed perspective into the day. That dose of ‘grace’ injected through this song was the right answer for my heart when my head was working for the opposition. As we saunter through life, we can stubb our toe and find ourselves only interested in the foot long length of of gravel before us and the ache we feel in the seeping black and blue of a pulsing toe. I think that’s where the danger comes when our focus on the problem means we become blasé to the amazing nature of grace that abounds around us.