“But (the Lord) said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
I’ve found myself bombarded with statements about grace lately. From all sorts of places. I settled on a wonderful definition I heard a while ago in a podcast. The short and sweet definition of grace is “participation in the Divine life.” That’s it.
And what I love about this understated definition is that it confirms the belief that we are able to be participants in God’s life, in communion with Him. Of course we are! But this 5 word statement is so succinct and so concrete for me. It’s better than some theoretical or abstract definition. It makes sense.
God wants us to participate in His life. And sometimes we are asking for it very definitely and sometimes we are making a big mess of things and not being very clear at all. But we know we are in need of something from God. So we ask for whatever it is God wants to give us. And sometimes we don’t even have to ask. Many times grace just rushes in upon us unannounced and unexpected, but thoroughly appreciated, even if we are a put a little off balance by the experience initially. Surprises will do that.
We feel ‘good’ after such an encounter with grace. We are at peace and focused and happy. We feel very strongly that something awesome just occurred in the depths of our being. But we’re not sure what it was or why it should happen to me. That’s grace. That’s a participation in the Divine life. And we should yearn for it always, pray about it and be ever so grateful when we experience it.
I have wondered why any of us should be given the unmerited and even unasked for gift of God’s grace. I’m not sure I can answer that question. But I do know that if we are searching for something because we are restless; if we are praying for someone or something but we feel we just don’t know how to pray properly, if we are striving for goods in this life instead of things that are not of God (and anything that is good is of God), we have left ourselves open and available for God’s grace to rush in upon us!
In the Scripture verse above, God has obviously blessed Paul with the grace needed to sustain him in his current trial. God will take care of him, Paul assures us, by an outpouring of God’s grace, the very real participation in the Divine life. That’s true for us, too. God will take care of us. May we open ourselves up to receive all the grace that God freely offers us. It is an unimaginable gift, that Divine life we are given. No, we don’t deserve it, no we can’t earn it, no, it’s not given with conditions. Just like the love of God, it is freely given with no strings attached. But once you experience the grace God offers, you can’t help but give back something to someone. It may take a while to figure out what you’re supposed to do. But God will provide. Grace sustains us. Grace is like a note that is held in a music composition. It enters at a specific moment, but it holds on even as other notes dance all around it. Grace is the foundational note from which everything else in the melody springs forth. The prolonged, sustained note gives the song its power.
The favor God bestows on us when we receive His grace is incomparable; we respond in love and gratitude, however feeble though we feel our response is, however unworthy we may feel. No worries. God will take care of the rest. He always does. See Paul’s above quote again if you start to doubt it.
Here’s a wonderful song based on the same Scripture verse. Favorite line: “Heaven reaches out to us.” That’s grace! Enjoy!
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