Remembering God’s Grace

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I actually wrote this years ago as part of a devotional given out to participants on a Via de Cristo retreat weekend.  It seems appropriate to share this month.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”  2 Corinthians 4:8-10

You’ve all seen the bumper sticker reminding us that bad things happen in our lives, things we can’t control and don’t expect.  I may not approve of the language, but I’m not immune to the feelings behind the sentiment.  It seems only too true.  Bad things happen to good people.  Bad things happen to me.  And I don’t like it.  It doesn’t seem fair.  There are days when I feel like Elijah, sitting under his broom tree, begging God to take his life.  I’ve had enough of this life, too.  I want to give up.  I can’t see through the dark curtain of despair the world has cast around me.

But recently I spotted a car sporting a Christian alternative to that worldly message of doom and gloom.  It read simply, “Grace Happens.”  That was a moment close to Christ for me, a powerful reminder that in the midst of disease, death, divorce, discouragement and all the other unpleasant facts of life, God is there.  His grace happens to me over and over.  It happened on my Via de Cristo weekend.  It happens every time I gather with my wonderful church family.  It happens when I feel the love of my husband and children.  It happens on the job when the Holy Spirit prompts me to encourage someone through my Christian beliefs.

Life hasn’t changed.  It was difficult for Elijah, confronting the prophets of Baal;  it was difficult for Jesus, facing death on the cross;  it’s hard for me, too.  But grace happens.  It happened then and it’s happening now.  I need to remember that.

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