“The grace of our Lord
was poured out on me abundantly,
along with the faith and love
that are in Christ Jesus.”
~ 1 Timothy 1:14 (NIV)
God’s grace. What does this really mean? We throw this word union around easily. God’s grace.
God. We know that definition. Creator. Father. Redeemer…
Grace. Now this one is more complicated. It has multiple meanings, according to Noah Webster. There are about six diverse meanings, but the range of these four stuck out. From beauty of form or movement to a favor to delay granted for a payment to the love and favor of God toward man.
Ah, the love and favor of God toward man. Sounds nice. Even looks nice in print. But I yearn to know the meaning. The one I can write out. Read. Touch. See. The tangible definition.
Several days ago as I teetered atop the unsteady edge of the picnic table to hang the glass hummingbird feeder, I glanced down to regain my balance. Something way down there, on the bark dust-covered ground, caught my eye. It was a skeletal remnant of a leaf. So intricate. So wondrous. The winter rains and snow took it’s lovely outer jacket of color back into the earth. Composted it back into the ground from which it grew.
I finished hanging and teetering on the table. Alas, I re-found that leaf. Instead of disintegrating under my gentle touch, it remained whole. And to me, holy. It may be a bit tattered on the edges, but the beauty of it is stunning, especially when stripped down to it’s foundation.
It is a thing of grace, is it not?
Beauty of form. Definitely. Just look at it.
A favor. Yep. What a treat to see that little-bitty, splendid thing of beauty amidst all the bark scattered beneath the picnic table.
Delay granted before a payment. Yes. Before it fully returns to the dirt, this leaf is wearing perhaps its best garment, not its bright green newbie suit or even its brilliant red vine maple dress, but its delicate under garment.
And what about that last part? Love and favor of God toward man.
When we accept Him as Lord and Saviour, then we have stepped into the place where we are able to accept His grace. And to recognize His grace.
It is only in His embrace that I can speak of His grace. Touch His grace. See His grace. And fully understand the definition. It is only in this sacred place that I know His beauty of form or movement and His favor and His (forever) delay granted (by Christ) for a payment (my sins) and His love and favor toward man.
Love and favor of God toward man. Most assuredly. As I hold this little leaf skeleton in my hand, it delicately displays the tangible meaning of God’s grace to me because we, too, look different during the ever changing seasons of our lives, but underneath it all, we are merely intricate cells knit together by God. And we are held in His forever-loving hands.