The grace to grasp grace

At times, we ignore grace, not because we think there is anything better but because we have been conditioned to live lives devoid of grace and mercy. Grace is so amazing that when it breaks through into our day to day, we have no template to flow with it or participate in it so we ignore it, if we recognize it at all. We are trained to toil, to grind for a living and to “pay” for whatever error, mistake or offence we commit. Many times, we lack the receptacle to receive forgiveness, because in our world, you must “earn” everything.

Grace is foreign to our way of being because grace only asks us to receive, not to toil. Grace requires significant internal effort to believe and to receive because we are conditioned to only receive what we toiled and laboured for. In words I picked up from Philip Yancey’s books, Grace is scandalous. Grace grants everlasting life and pleasures to the worst of offenders and requires only that they accept her offer of forgiveness.

Grace whispers to us from within. Grace screams at us from without. Grace cries aloud on the streets, in the shops, in the bars, in the market places, in the offices, in the day to day where life happens, where interactions and transactions occur, especially outside of traditional environments of “grace”, like “church”. Grace must feel frustrated if she were human because she is crying out and calling for our attention but we ignore her, because she is so good, she could not possibly be true.

Yesterday, we were to to take a bus to Toronto from Montreal early in the morning and needed to take our luggage from the office downtown. On the bus from home (Chateauguay), we discovered shortly before we arrived downtown that we had left our copy of the keys to our building, at home. Going back home was not an option because the Chateauguay traffic was so heavy that we would probably miss our bus to Toronto and may miss our flight from Toronto to London, our final destination.

The first thought that crossed my mind was, Go to the office and wait. I was aware enough to recognize the thought but I ignored it almost immediately, because it could not possibly be the answer to this predicament. In retrospect, I realized that I thought there had to be something more “proactive” than just going to wait. I had to be moving and doing something, I had to hustle and as the man and superhero Daddy, had to be seen to be doing something about it by my wife and 2 year old.

I crossed out that thought and came up with the “brighter” idea of calling one of our staff who had a copy of the keys. Thankfully, I could reach her on her cell phone and we agreed to meet somewhere. It required walking some distance from the bus stop near our office , while Ronke and Tofunmi would go to the bus station to wait. On the way there, I saw and waved to Brenda, who volunteers in the Thrift shop in our building. Immediately after seeing Brenda, I looked up and saw a bus going towards the office and another thought crossed my mind Take that bus back to the office. I crossed it out again because it was not as “intelligent” and “proactive” as Go and pick up keys from Sara and find a way to get the keys across to her after.

Shortly after, Ronke calls me. She had a thought to go to the office too but she did not cross it out. She got to the front of our building and saw Brenda, who had the keys. I call Sara and apologize for disturbing her schedule so early in the morning and then headed back to the office, where I should have been had I paid attention to the whispers and screams of Grace.

This is very ordinary but it shows how we ignore the whispers of Grace within and the screams of Grace without. I ignored all her attempts to break through my world and help me, without having to pay a price for messing up, without even having to rearrange my schedule, having messed up. How many times do we fail to recognize Grace because it is too good to be true? How many times do we fail to receive thoughts and ideas that will make our lives much easier because they sound silly or do not require us paying a worthy price. Grace is God reaching out to each one of us here, now, and offering us things, solutions, ideas far beyond our highest prayers, dreams, thoughts, hopes and desires, while only asking us to believe and receive.

There is an intelligence that is omniscient, there are provisions that are beyond our wildest imagination, that Grace is trying to connect us to, individually and collectively. All Grace requires is believe and receive and as simple as it sounds, it is the hardest thing to do, without grace. In his book Abba’s Child, Brennan Manning said, “the grace to grasp grace is grace.”

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