“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”–Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
I knew I deserved a parking ticket.
I was pregnant with my first child and on a mission trip to Mexico with our senior high youth. That trip found me bouncing around with a van full of kids on busy streets in Juarez as our clown team performed for children around the city. Finally, nature called. I had to find a place to use the bathroom or my bladder was going to burst!
Finding a bathroom in a busy town was not easy. We parked across the street from some shops, and I and a couple youth walked the street asking “Donde esta el bano?” over and over. Finally some nice proprietor let me climb their dingy narrow stairs to the upper level bathroom above their shop. Oh….the relief.
My relief turned to dismay as we walked back to our vehicle and I heard the story that happened in my absence. Apparently I had parked in a no-parking zone, and a policewoman had been ready to take off our license plates and fine me. Thankfully my quick-thinking parent volunteer could speak Spanish, and explained we had an uncomfortable pregnant lady driving the van who needed to park and run to a bathroom, and could we please keep our plates? Mercifully we were let go, I jumped in the van and got my tail out of there!
This story reminds me of God’s grace. I deserved punishment for what I had done, I had broken a law. But the policewoman showed grace to me by not giving me what I deserved.
God is the same way with us–though we are sinful, break his laws daily, and deserve death, God, through Jesus Christ, died for us, washed us clean, and loves us with an everlasting love. Grace= “undeserved kindness”. God shows us kindness and mercy though we sin and fall short all the time. Paul reminds the Ephesians that this is a gift from God. We are saved only by grace through faith. We cannot earn it. We cannot buy it. God gives grace freely, we only need to accept it.
Where in your life do you see God’s grace to you? Perhaps a person has shown you mercy when you deserved punishment, or perhaps you have given grace or mercy to another person when they did something to you. If you don’t see grace in your life, I invite you to look for it…God often extends grace to us in surprising places…sometimes we just need our eyes opened to see it.
Prayer–“God, thank you for your amazing grace toward me. I do not deserve your kindness or love, yet you pour it out to me daily. Help me to accept this gift and use it to show grace to others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”