A few days ago I found myself having a conversation about grace with some friends and family. So many wonderful thoughts and insights were shared, but one thought that was shared really struck a chord in my heart. The thought was, “So many people think of grace as something that will only have an affect at the end of our life and in the eternities. But what about today? I need grace today, and everyday.”
I have thought a lot about this, and I have come to see that grace is indeed something I need each day, and if I look hard enough, I can see grace intertwined in every detail of my life.
As I have pondered grace and the effect it has in my life, I have come to notice one way that grace plays a particularly significant role in my life.
Grace does not stop bad things from happening to me, and often it doesn’t even lessen the heartache that accompanies these trials. But what grace does is it shields me from the bitterness, anger, despair, and hopelessness that I could be feeling because of my circumstances.
My senior year of high school I experienced grace in this way. By this time in my life, I had been swimming competitively for 8 years. I spent six hours each day at practice, and my whole life revolved around swimming. I loved it, and I couldn’t wait each day to go to the pool. But as my senior year was approaching, I began to experience terrible back pain, to the point that after practice I could barely, walk, sit, or even stand. Nothing could help the pain, and soon the answer became clear that I needed to quit swimming. To say I was devastated would be an understatement. I couldn’t come to grips with the truth that my swimming career would be over. I struggled with my decision, trying to fight my reality for months, until finally I told my coach I had to quit.
I remember expecting to be devastated, angry, to feel lost and miserable. But somehow the day I stopped swimming all I felt was peace, relief, and surety that this was the right thing.
I know without a doubt that those feelings were not my own, my own feelings would surely have been negative and hopeless. But it was grace that shielded my from those feelings, it was grace that gave me peace. As I did the right thing, in the best way I could, God was there to supply the rest, the peace, and the surety.
It was grace that saved me that day, and it is grace that has saved me each day since then, and it still grace that saves me today.
How will you grow in grace today?