Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about grace. The dictionary has many different meanings for this word. I won’t bore you with academics. Rather, I will give you my definition, by examples.
Grace gives you puzzle pieces, one by one. You won’t know you are receiving them. You won’t know what they are. It will tell you, “Go to the woods.” You won’t know why. In a heap, you will find supplies, “Here are tools you need.” You won’t know they are tools. Grace allows you to remember a conversation, another puzzle piece. Grace never gives you all the details. Grace will inspire you, “Build the puzzle.” Divine Inspiration will tell you, “Build a shelter. Wait. The lost dog will appear.” The lost dog WILL appear.
Grace is not something that you can look for. It finds you and surprises you. It’s that strange gut-feeling that tells you, “Wake up and pay attention.” Sometimes it screams at you. Sometimes it whispers. It will push you down to the ground. It will politely tap you on the shoulder.
The silent force will sit quietly with you on a hillside. As you look forward, looking for another lost dog, it will tell you, “Look behind you.” There, behind a tree is the missing dog staring at you. This is grace. Not where you expected to find “it.” It makes you wait with nervous anticipation and excitement. Grace will end three weeks of suffering and let you catch the dog a day later.
Grace is not always benevolent. It will hurt you and punish you. It will break your spirit. Grace will make you question your faith.
A faith-filled family will name their unborn child Grace, after losing her late in pregnancy to miscarriage.
The Divine Spirit will take the last breaths of a classroom of children. “Why God? Why?”
Grace will eventually end the life of a young man with ALS and leave his wife and 3 children wondering, “Why?”
Grace does not wear a watch. It is not concerned with our concerns. It cannot be hurried or bullied into action. Grace is patient, never coming when you ask for it.
Some will “say grace” – a prayer of thanksgiving before eating meals.
Grace is used in prayer to describe the Virgin Mary. “Hail Mary! Full of grace…”
You cannot buy grace. You cannot own grace. It swoops into your life, opens your eyes, makes you cry, makes you wonder, and leaves quietly.
Grace makes you do the work. It will frustrate you, it will anger you, it will disappoint you. Grace will, on occassion, give you a moment of glory.
Grace will tempt you to give up hope, to abandon your dream and to quit with cowardice. For some, grace will let you quit with cowardice. For others, grace will lead you to faithfully surrender.
No matter the outcome, grace will always reward you. You cannot decide the “prize.” Whether or not you like the reward is your choice.
I welcome grace, flaws and all.