Have you ever been humbled by the grace of God?
Last night, as I was on my way to grab some food before watching The Walking Dead finale with my roommates, I found myself getting frustrated at traffic. I kept looking at the clock in the car, wondering whether I’d be able to make it through the Taco Bell line in time to see the opening scene of the episode. I don’t like being late, and I really don’t like missing any part of a story, so I let myself inwardly grumble about every little thing that could possibly delay my arrival back at the apartment. Simply put, I was being a selfish punk. And yet, I didn’t have any reason to be frustrated. Most of the traffic lights were green on my way back, including those that seem to always stop me, and the traffic wasn’t bad at all. In fact, I managed to walk into the apartment just as the show was beginning. As I drove, God seemed to make it clear that he was working things out for me, even though I was being selfish about the whole situation. He was showing me grace in the very moment that I knew I didn’t deserve it.
This is one of at least four similar instances over the last few days. In each case, God blessed me in unexpected, out of the ordinary ways. And, in each case, I knew that there was nothing I had done to warrant such blessings. As I was reflecting on these things, this passage sprang to mind:
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
In context, the psalmist wonders at God’s care for him as he beholds the greatness of creation. The writer recognizes how undeserving he is of God’s love, and his recognition leads him to worship. Seeing God’s grace in the context of my selfishness, I can relate.
As I learn to walk with God, I’m realizing more and more how bad I am at this relationship. Among other things, I’ve been treating God more like a fact I need to acknowledge than a Father I need to know. I’ve been lazy and selfish, lacking in humility and abounding in pride. I know this needs to change, and I know that I can’t make myself holy simply by accumulating more facts about God, so I’ve been praying for a deeper relationship with him. I want to truly know him, not simply know about him. And he’s been faithful to answer my prayers, reminding me first of all of his glorious grace. With every lesson, I find myself more in awe of him and his love for me.
Paul speaks of this grace in Romans, where he writes,
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
This truth came alive as I thought about it in connection with these last few days. In my weakness, God showed me grace. In my stubbornness, God loved me. In my sinfulness, Christ died for me. The beauty of the Gospel shines as the God of Psalm 139, who knows me perfectly, still loves me. And this grace, then, leads me to action. As I am growing to know God better, I long to serve him more faithfully. His grace encourages me to be more humble, more selfless, and more disciplined. And as God shows me his grace and calls me deeper into him, I am learning to love him more and to trust him more. May he increase and I decrease.