For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. Titus 2:11
When a person is endowed with an abundance of one thing, we say that they are ‘peace personified’. Or ‘talent personified.’ Jesus was, and is, ‘grace personified.’
Jesus was the fullness of God, the God-man, and was personified by much more than grace.
Isaiah said, “Arise, shine; for they light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Jesus is light personified. He is also glory personified.
Malachi said, “Unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings.” Jesus is righteousness personified.
A person who is gracious is, of himself, gracious. It doesn’t depend on the behavior of the person who will receive it. Grace is self-motivated. Grace must express itself because it is generated, and then overflows, from the giver’s heart. Grace aches to communicate, then stoop to bend over someone, to lavish unexpected tenderness.
The most beautiful gifts of grace always surprise. They can’t be guessed ahead of time. The very nature of them is to leave the person who receives it speechless.
Many years ago, I flew to Colorado to perform a 2 ½ hour concert. It was not in a church but in a rented hotel ballroom for a specific group function. I didn’t feel well on the flight there and it worsened as the day progressed. By 2:00, I was lying on my bed in my hotel room, with a 102-degree fever and raspy voice. The stress an artist feels over having to cancel their engagement last minute cannot be exaggerated. And, the stress they inflict on the hosting organization to figure out what they’re going to do cannot be exaggerated either. Tensions run high and grace is often absent. I was surprised, and deeply moved, by the response I received from those who had invited me. They were ‘grace personified’ that day. Their initial response was not panic, though I’m sure they were feeling it. What overflowed immediately was concern for my physical comfort and healing ~ along with a concern for the guilt I was feeling. As it turned out, they sent a team up to pray for me and I was temporarily healed enough to perform. But I will never forget the gift of grace and what that felt like in a situation where grace was rarely extended.
The rest of today, I am going to reflect on the gifts of grace I’ve received from God’s hand that left me stunned; those moments when I knew He had stooped, and bent over, to pour out something undeserved. Starting with the gracious gifts of His sacrifice, undeserved forgiveness, and the rights of adoption, I will move to the personalized expressions of His grace poured out over these many years. I hope to be surprised by stunning moments I had overlooked and failed to recognize as direct, divine interventions. Would you join me in this beautiful exercise today?
You’ve been gracious when we believed You weren’t even there. Show us. Amen