In this time of uncertainty, we all have to extend a little grace to each other, as well as to ourselves. We all make mistakes and in tenuous times, probably more so.
But what is grace? Webster’s Dictionary has many definitions for grace. Some of them include mercy, pardon, a virtue coming for God, reprieve, charming or attractive trait.
I asked my oldest daughter, 12 years old, what grace is. She said “something that God gives to people.” That is true.
Maybe one of the best definitions I’ve heard is “The will of God to magnify the worth of God… by enabling sinners to delight in God… without compromising the Glory of God.” There are many ways to define and explain grace, though, so let’s look to scripture for guidance.
If we look at the parable of the prodigal son, Jesus shows us exactly what Grace looks like. A son who is the black sheep of the family has lost all of the inheritance his father had given him. He is left with nothing and feeding pigs and so hungry that he is willing to eat what the pigs were eating pigs. He decides to go home and see if he can be a servant in his fathers house because at least that is better than how he is now. When the son returns, his father accepts him and throws a huge feast for his long lost son.
The parable shows that our God is a loving Father who doesn’t give up on His children. Even when we foolishly reject Him and turn our backs on Him, He still loves us and desperately wants us to return to Him.
I am reminded of the life of John Newton.
He was known for his wild behavior to say the least. He was known to be a drunkard and to mock faith. He worked aboard slave ships. It was one ship in particular where his life began to change. He was aboard this ship and it was caught in a storm. It began breaking up and taking on water. He worked all night long to save the ship. He started to realize that he might not make it.
He asked for God’s help and he survived the disaster. He had realized that his life was not where it should be. He wondered if God would be willing to forgive him? His life slowly changed. He learned how to pray. He learned from others how the gospel applied to his life. He knew that God loves us and no one is beyond redemption.
It was with these thoughts that he wrote the wonderful hymn “Amazing Grace.”
We don’t deserve His Grace. In this troubled time, let us remember how wonderful, matchless and amazing His grace is. Maybe take some time this week and meditate on the words of the hymn:
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The world shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun refuse to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Shall be forever mine.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.
Amen, and God Bless.