By the grace of God we are saved, but what is the Grace of God? What is God's grace?
What is God’s grace?
I wanted to take a break, and write about something other than tweeter-elect, Oompa Loompa. The Bible talks about the Grace of God; you’ll find statements like For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– (Ephesians 2:8, NIV), or, And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace (Romans 11:6, NIV).
But what does it mean? What is the grace of God?
I struggled with this question for many years. Then, six years ago, my son was born, and I finally began to understand. And while I don’t pretend to have all the answers, I can share what I’ve learned along my journey.
My son has a lot of energy. He abounds in creative curiosity, and I love him more than life itself. What I did not expect from fatherhood, was that my son has taught me more about God, and about God’s grace in the time since he was born than I could have learned in a lifetime.
I remember my first smartphone, a Samsung Galaxy S2. I loved it. In retrospect, it wasn’t that great compared to the BlackBerry, but it was new to me, and it didn’t take long for my whole life to become integrated with this amazing tool. One day, my son, God bless his inquisitive soul, wanted to see what would happen if he dropped it down twenty feet onto a hard, concrete floor.
I never did get those pictures back.
He melts my heart, though; he likes to unload the dishwasher, even though he doesn’t do it right. For him, it’s more about the experience, the feeling of being helpful, and he’s taught me the value of patience, and of the importance of being grateful for his ‘help.’ He builds these cars out of Legos and he likes to show me how awesome they are. I know I could make a better, more sophisticated one, but that isn’t the point, is it? I tell him how awesome his car is and I’m proud of him for building it.
He’s taught me the meaning of grace.
He sometimes likes to do the things I do. I remember one time, he wanted to start the car for me, using a toothpick instead of a key. Then, he broke the toothpick off in the ignition. I had no idea just how easy it was for a child to utterly disable a car; as in, if you’d asked me to disable someone’s car, I would never think of that. We all sat in the car for an hour waiting for a tow truck, and I spent a some days and over $200 on a locksmith to make my car drivable again.
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I just love him.
He tells me he doesn’t like me, says he wishes I weren’t around. He splashes me when I don’t want to be splashed, fights me on eating when he’s obviously hungry, and argues just about every point he can argue. Sometimes, he shuts down or throws a tantrum if he doesn’t get his way. He can be loud, obnoxious, and sometimes downright rude. In public. And sometimes, I have to pick him up and put him where I need him to be, and he gets up and runs off anyway. He asks me for things I can’t give him, for various reasons, like cookies for breakfast, and I often feel sad when I tell him ‘no,’ he can’t use the scissors to cut up mommy’s couch. I have to take him home if he’s not playing nice with the other kids at the playground and refuses to listen. And he still fights me on the things that are good for him, like reading, math, and eating vegetables.
And then I look at him, and he’s my son, my beautiful, beautiful boy, and I just love him.
So I bow my head in prayer, and I say to God, “Oh, I get it. Grace. Thanks.”