Whether you’ve been a Christian for a long time, a little while, or you are just curious about all this Jesus stuff, it’s easy to miss God’s grace showing up in our lives.
In How Big is God’s Grace, I attempted to lay out the expansive and loving nature of His grace. It begins with Jesus, God in human form coming to earth to show us what the Father is really like. The amazing thing about grace is that the perfect Son of God (who is also God – confusing, I know) not only revealed the heart of the Father to us, but He died so that our sins would be forgiven and our relationship with the Father would be put back together.
Jesus did this for us even though we didn’t ask for it or even desire it. We didn’t even know we needed it, but once that grace was initially received through faith, then our eyes were opened.
So, the first way we recognize and experience God’s grace is receiving it by faith, which is like a movement of our heart toward God, whose arms are open wide to us no matter what we’ve done or how low our lives have descended. Grace finds us and welcomes us each and every day right where we are.
God’s not looking for us to “clean ourselves up” before we respond to Him. He loves us in all our messes. Let’s face it, we’re all on the spectrum for messiness, no matter if you haven’t yet received God’s grace given through Jesus or you’ve been a Christian for a month or years. Don’t worry, He loves helping us through or out of messes.
This leads us to way number 2 – look for God’s grace in your messes, trials, and difficulties because it’s there. We can never escape His presence so He is there with you in the hard times, and so is His grace. King David said in Psalm 23, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” and it’s still true.
For example, I managed to pick up three infections on a trip outside the country and came home sicker than I’ve been in decades. The nausea was incredible and of course, my husband was away on a business trip. But another family member unexpectantly happened to be home. Given that I needed someone to get medication for me just so I could hold food down, that was grace, sheer kindness on God’s part.
Additionally, when a sickness brings you to tears, it’s great to have someone around to comfort you and check on you. God knew what I needed that week – human companionship – and He graciously provided it for me. Grace was there, even in the midst of my tears and suffering. Grace made the suffering bearable, just as it says in Isaiah 43:2 – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Then there’s the more obvious grace we see when things go right. The biopsy comes back negative. You finally get a job just as your savings run out. A relationship is restored, maybe even after years of estrangement. Do you see those gifts as God’s grace? Do you think those good outcomes have to be earned? Nah, it’s sheer grace, and what a joy it is when circumstances work out for good, especially after long seasons of persevering prayer. Let’s not forget to give God the glory in both good and difficult times.
Fourth, we can know God’s grace in the ordinary occurrences of our routine lives. Look for God’s grace in His “little kindnesses,” such as the nearby parking spot in the rain, or the last shopping cart available. Even a string of green traffic lights when you’re in a hurry can be a Heavenly gift.
There are countless “small” ways that God showers grace on us. I call them small because they happen every day, as opposed to what we think of as the bigger issues of life such as health diagnoses, marriage, even births and deaths. But these daily graces matter, and we can even ask for them when we need them. I have prayed my way through more than one traffic jam in order to make an appointment or an airplane.
Speaking of our schedules, the fifth way we can be touched by God’s grace is to yield to it. Sometimes we need to give in or say yes as God intervenes in our lives. One of my frequent prayers is for God to order my steps (yup, I even need help arranging my day). I’m constantly awed by how God rearranges my plans in favor of better ones. If I don’t fight His agenda changes, the alterations are always an improvement.
For instance, I plan to meet with someone at 1:00, but it gets canceled (Ugh! I was looking forward to it!). But then I realize my 3:00 meeting with someone else actually needed to take place first. It may not sound significant, but God smooths out my paths that way all the time. I don’t usually like it at the beginning (because I’m a recovering control freak), but it’s always a benefit to me and those around me.
This is what God’s grace does – it benefits you and those in your circle in ways that you could not do yourself. And it’s constant: grace flows from the Father’s hand day and night into our lives, helping us in countless ways.
Now you’ve heard my stories of God’s grace, so how about you? What are your stories of God’s grace touching you? It would be such an encouragement to me and other readers if you would share the wonders of His grace in your life. Actually, if you would share, that would be an act of grace!