“The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.”
When I think of grace, I think of the word “gift.” Now, birthday presents are nice gifts. But we kind of feel like we deserve them because it’s our special day. Have you ever gotten a gift on a hard day, or random day? I have, and it meant so much to me. What about on a day you were rotten or selfish, or small minded? God’s saving power and God’s love and God’s peace are gifts to us that we can neither create nor destroy, neither earn or demand. We can only accept God’s grace, or choose not to accept it. When I am given something I don’t deserve, and I truly understand that, it breaks me down. My heart becomes soft and tender. None of us deserves any good gifts from God, but He gives them anyway.
The other night, bedtime was rough. My 7 year-old had his music up too loud, and my 10 year-old was yelling at him to turn it down. Then he came in and “asked” again to turn the music down. My 7 year-old didn’t like this, so he went to his brother’s room and turned on all the lights just as he was falling asleep. More yelling ensued. I was downstairs, desperately trying to get the baby to sleep. I had just gingerly laid the baby down, when I heard more yelling. Boy, was I mad! Why couldn’t they get along? Where had I failed as a mother, that they can’t even talk to each other without fighting? I had fears about the job I was doing as a mother. What “should” be happening was far from what was happening in real life, and I operated from a place of fear. I marched upstairs, ordered my 7 year-old to his own room and lectured loudly about being quiet, and respecting each other. I was very cranky about it. He looked at me with his big eyes, and asked if I would still tuck him in and pray with him. My heart softened right then and there. Then my little 7 year-old boy prayed out loud. He asked God to help me have a good day and to feel good. I had not been very nice to him, but he prayed for me. It broke me down. I grabbed that boy and held him tight. He gave me a gift I didn’t deserve and it pierced my soul in that moment.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love Him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:18-19) When we act out of fear, we cannot be feeling true love. And God loves us always. He gives us blessings and gifts to help us to recognize His love and tender care for us. He truly is gracious.
Where do you see God’s love for you? Have you looked? Will you let God’s grace sink into your heart, break you down, and accept God’s gifts of love and peace for you?