It’s funny. The word ‘grace’ seems to be all around me.
- That ballerina moves with such grace.
- I’ve never seen a more gracious host.
- May God pour down grace upon grace.
And this is what I’m discovering: Whether used in secular situations (e.g. sports, etiquette) or not, I believe grace is a gift from the Father. In fact, in Christian circles, it’s defined as an unmerited gift from God. A professional football player running down the sidelines for a spectacular touchdown (Go Seahawks) and a prima ballerina have both been touched by grace. How? Both have put in thousands of hours of training; however, training alone doesn’t mean that s/he will be successful. I believe that the seed of passion and ability is a gift of grace from God. Talents – we don’t create them, we develop them—and we certainly don’t deserve them. The gracious host has been given the gift of hospitality, and those who develop and use that gifting are the best hosts. But the thing about grace is that it’s much bigger than a talent or a passion or a supreme ability. And much smaller, too. Sometimes, it’s a moment. A pause. A brief redirection. But no matter what, if you’re looking for grace, you’ll see the fingerprints of God, too.
I’m thankful for a moment of grace which I observed, and wish to share with you:
Recently, I was at our local big box hardware/home store, waiting in line to get some paint tinted. Beside me was a woman who was veryimportantandinaverybighurry! The woman stood to my side, huffing and puffing, and otherwise showing for all the world to see that she was unhappy with the fact that she had to wait to have her paint tinted. PSA: If you’re going to a hardware store in the morning during the week, you WILL be behind every home renovation subcontractor who is picking up his paint for the day’s projects. You WILL wait. It’s just life.
Well, after the paint counter attendant finished with the subcontractors, she pleasantly focused on the womanwhowasinahurry. “Oh, yes. You needed ________.” To which the woman exclaimed, “What?! You haven’t even…She hasn’t even started my paint!”
The clerk remained calm, started the machine, and walked up to the woman and noted that it would be about 10-15 minutes.
“WHAT?! I have already waited for 15 minutes, and I’m late, and now I can’t get the paint, and NEXT TIME, CALL FOR HELP!” And away she flounced.
Timidly, I approached the counter, made eye contact with the clerk, and said, “Hi. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” she said, shrugging it off. “It happens. People are just short-tempered.” And that was it. She was over it, moving on, and ready to help me. Now, to be honest, I don’t know if that event was replayed repeatedly in her mind or not, but I really don’t think so. I think grace was abundant in the way she was able to:
- Keep her cool.
- Not take the rant personally, and
- Let it go, moving on to the next customer.
I admit, I was so impressed and convicted by the clerk’s response. Total grace. The hurried woman “deserved” to be slapped rebuked. But she was extended grace. How many times am I in too much of a hurry? How many times do I feel a sense of entitlement and that my needs supersede another’s? I mean, I may not say it out loud, but we know God sees the heart. Maybe I don’t yell or flounce. Maybe my reaction is more passive aggressive. Also, how often do I Taylor Swift shake it off when someone treats me rudely? I’ll admit, I have a lot of growing to do here, because I often:
- Don’t keep my cool.
- Do take the rant personally, and
- Possibly a) fight back and definitely b) replay the situation, including how I could’ve won in the situation.
Man, more often than I’d like to admit, my heart has some evil junk in it. Darn it. Good thing weak, broken vessels are God’s specialty for showing His mercy and grace.
The cool thing (OK, one of the cool things) about God and about His grace is that He and it are unending, never-changing, and always present. His grace isn’t simply a one-time gift – it’s ours f.o.r.e.v.e.r. if we believe in Him and ask for it.
So what about you? Any grace sightings, lately? Please feel free to share them in the comments to encourage us all.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)