I believe in grace. As a Christian for the past several decades and a person in ministry, how could I not? I have not only heard but have also recited the common phrases about grace: there is grace enough for this, there is grace upon grace, there is grace for me and my need. And I believe it, with my whole heart I believe that the grace of God touches down in our lives in many ways and is sufficient for our Christian walks with him.
But have you ever wondered how we access this grace? I’m not asking how we receive the grace of God in salvation. That’s an important conversation, but it is all together another conversation. What I mean is this: do you ever wonder if you have access to the daily grace of God for your daily struggles and momentary frustrations? I know I have wondered about it. Sometimes, even at times when I am actively repeating the common phrases regarding grace, I question how I can actually access it. I wonder where grace touches down in my daily life, and if I don’t see it touching down on its own, how do I seek it out?
This is not a question without an answer. And so I went in search of grace in my daily life. I found four places were grace touches down in our daily lives when, and maybe especially when, we don’t feel like we know how to access it.
Prayer often feels like effort in my life. It feels like an offering before God in which I muster up a lot of my focus and diligence and bring my requests and praise before God. Sometimes prayer is this kind of work, but it is also an act of receiving God’s grace. The times when I most experienced the grace of God in my daily needs are when I turn my eyes to him in prayer in the midst of a daily frustration. Prayer has the ability to turn ordinary moments into experiences of God’s supernatural power and presence. When I stand at the kitchen sink, frustrated by the fact that my toddler won’t eat the lunch that I have served her, exasperated by the fact that she doesn’t want to nap, overwhelmed by the mounting to do list, I am able to breathe a prayer of need to the Lord. I confess to him that I am frustrated and overwhelmed, tired and frustrated, and I asked for him to come and supply everything I need for the day and hours ahead. And do you know what I find? Somewhat embarrassingly to my surprise, I find that his presence fills my life with a grace that was not their moments before. By turning my mind to God and remembering that I can breathe a prayer of exasperation to him while standing at my kitchen sink, I am reminded that he is with me in all things. And his presence has the power to buoy me up in any circumstance.
I am not one who is quick to ask for help. And. I am quite poor at receiving help when offered yet. But, in my most average moments, I find that I am in need of a great abundance of help from a great number of people. When I have had a long week of travel and speaking, when ministry demands seem menial and someone unending, and when the diapers simply won’t change themselves, I need help. And there are an abundance of people who come to my aid. My neighbor offers to watch my daughter for a few minutes while I finish a phone call, a friend offers to pick up dessert for HouseChurch that I had committed to make but ran out of time to complete, a woman in my church texts me and asks how she can help on Sunday so that I can stay home just a few more minutes with Emerson. If I don’t receive this help, I am resisting receiving grace. The community of faith that surrounds us reaches out their hands and offers help, and in doing so they offer us an extension of God‘s grace to us. We are wise when we receive it.
General revelation is a theological term for how God’s existence is revealed through the order of creation. Simply put, God has put his fingerprints on the world he created, and all of creation beckons for us to recognize it. Have you ever had one of those fumbling moments where are you feel on the verge of tears or on the verge of screaming in anger, only to look outside and see that the birds and the clouds in the sunshine are unconcerned by the things that are frustrating you? I had one such moment this morning. As I lamented that my morning was off to a rough start, grumbling my way through our morning walk with the dog, I suddenly looked up and saw that the sunrise had painted the sky a beautiful shade of light pink. Unbeknownst to me creation was giving God praise, begging me to look upward, inviting me to join it in fixing my eyes on the heavens and remembering the God who created us. Creation is calling to us all of the time. It invites us to remember that we are created in love and have been given limits that are for our good. It reminds us of the One who alone is limitless. In knowing our limits, and knowing our limitless God, there is grace.
The local church.
I can get really into architecture. One of the entry points into this interest for me has been the architecture of church sanctuaries. Ever since the tabernacle design, worshipers have been crafting spaces that intentionally point our eyes to the One we are worshiping. From the tall ceilings to the wall hangings, from the tables for offerings and the pulpit holding scripture, from the entryway with red painted doors that remind us that all who approach God enter by the blood of his sacrifice, — all of these intentionally chosen designs remind us of who it is that we have come to worship. And in bedded in that reminder is a reminder of who we were created to be. We are not just people who are trying to live the right kinds of lives. We are people who are becoming the right kind of people. We are becoming worshipers. We are becoming truer worshipers of our one true King. The church isn’t often convenient on a weekend morning, but simply by entering into the sanctuary we are entering into a historic tradition of lifting our eyes to the throne of grace. We are enacting what we believe: That we don’t approach God in our own merits, but that we approach God by his invitation and in his sustaining grace. We are putting into practice our belief that we need God’s grace, and opening our hands to receive it as we open our hands and worship in the assembly of believers.
These are four ways I have experienced the daily grace of God, but there are countless more. For all who are in Christ, the grace of Jesus is available to us at this very moment. Do you need Grace? There is enough for you.