A Friday or two ago, I woke up in a grumpy mood. My mother would have said that I woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning. Whatever side of the bed, it did nothing to improve my mood.
I groused my way through my Bible study and decided that my funk would only disappear if God showed me his grace in a huge, spectacular way—a really big answer to prayer. Yep, that would be the only way I could see his grace and hand in my life today. This did nothing to improve my mood either.
When it was time for my prayer group for the persecuted church, I now could add guilt for whining to my bad mood. I took a seat next to Jim. Jim is elderly, a widower of almost two years. He is humble and passionate about the persecuted church. I had no idea that I had just sat down next to grace.
We finished praying and Jim mentioned that he enjoyed the article I wrote in Connections about my young adult son. I thanked him and was about to give a ready reply, when Jim said that his 38-year-old grandson lives with him. "He's a heroin addict," Jim said. "I'm glad his grandmother isn't alive to see this."
This kind, gentle man added rather causually, "He'll probably be on methadone the rest of his life." Then came Jim's graced words, "His story isn't finished yet, like your son's story. God is still working." My grumpy mood dissipated when confronted with this bright display of God's grace. My soul was jolted off my mood onto the God of grace himself, who enables us to draw near and bring with us the big and little cares of ourselves and the hopes and hurts of one another.
In his poem "As Kingfishers Catch Fire," Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote:
I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is—
Chríst—for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.
The morning began with me looking for grace in all the wrong places, and ended when I saw God's grace on his terms and, oh, so lovely, in his people.