It’s been the word I’ve been mulling over for the past few years. Somehow, a word I’ve always known seems to have new meaning with every morning that my feet hit the floor.
Grace was my Grandma’s name. She always, always hinted that it was a popular name and that I should definitely name one of my children after her (even William. haha). It just didn’t seem to fit until Eliza Grace came along, which seems so perfect in my life right now. Ah, she was so tickled (because ‘tickled’ is such a grandma word, isn’t it?) when she found out that after 16 great-grandchildren, I had finally used Grace (I’ve always tried to be the favorite and this sealed the deal). She only got to see Eliza a few times before she died, but you should see my Grandpa when my baby walks in the room. He gets a tear in his eye and asks how “little Gracie” is. Cracks me up because Eliza gets this confused look on her face since we never actually call her “Gracie”.
I was standing in my pew a few Sundays ago, singing a song I don’t remember now, when the lyrics from “Grace like Rain” came into my head. And I pictured it. Grace, falling like rain, down on the heads of all the people standing there, singing with hands raised and eyes closed. Favor from God, lavished on a people who struggle to get it right. We are so undeserving.
I slowly opened my eyes and looked around. I looked at people and saw stories. That guy over there? He’s picking up the pieces of his life and it’s starting to make sense again. That family? They are living with a fresh diagnosis and it isn’t good. And yet here they are, praising Jesus. The one with her hand raised? Even though her actions don’t always show it, her heart is learning how to obey. And her? Heartbreak happens over and over, but she’s surrounding herself with prayer and friends and it’s truly making a difference. My friend? With tears streaming down her face she’s realizing the difference Christ can make in her life.
You and I and all of us are part of a story, a bigger story. I have been reminded of it over and over again. And this week, as we got out our Jesse Tree and I fingered the pages in our journal from the last few years, I remembered. From the very beginning, there was a Story. It started with Adam and Eve. And it hasn’t ended.
It’s Grace that keeps the story going. Unmerited favor. We mess up, we get lazy, we quit caring, but He never does. He refuses to stop writing the story, or to jump plot lines and pick up something else more exciting. It’s about You. It’s about Me. And it’s about how He won’t quit loving us.
He hems us in with His Grace. This gentle rain of His favor goes before us and follows after us. We can’t earn it or win it. There is no test or deadline. It’s simply a gift, a kindness, a favor because He loves us.