When we hear the word “grace,” perhaps the first thing we think of is the best known of all hymns. “Amazing grace! how sweet the sound.”
We identify grace as the saving factor in our otherwise doomed lives. We see the twins of salvation, mercy and grace, working together to pull us out of a pit of despair and place us safely into a wonderful place of beauty and peace that we do not deserve. We gratefully repeat the mantra, “Mercy means I did not get what I deserved. Grace means I got what I did not deserve.”
The theology is accurate. “For by grace are ye saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8), but the technical statement of a spiritual truth does not paint a perfect picture of grace.
Grace “is that which bestows or occasions pleasure, delight, or causes favorable regard; it is applied to beauty, or gracefulness of person or speech” (Vine). Grace is God’s desire to bring pleasure and delight to His people. God’s grace brings beauty and beautiful things into people’s lives. Grace goes far beyond the grim duty of helping us escape the clutches of hell.
Grace, the root for the word “graceful,” comes from one who is gracious. When grace gracefully walks into our day, it seeks an opportunity to bring something delightful. It wants to bestow a gift that brings us great pleasure.
Grace walked into my life recently.
My husband and I were packing our bags preparing to leave to help a church needing a pastor. Our daughter called, asking us to wait a few moments. When she and our son in law walked in, they presented us with a gift box and a card expressing their thanks to us. When I opened the box, it was filled with tissue but I didn’t see anything else. “Wait. There’s something else there,” my daughter said. In the bottom of the box were sonogram pictures of a baby.
Ten months earlier the doctor told our daughter she could not have children. Three months ago an evangelist spoke in the middle of his message and said, “The doctor may have said your womb is closed.” I cannot give an exact quote of the rest of his statement, but it was a word of faith.
A few days before, Heather was in pain and we felt it was an ulcer, so she scheduled a doctor’s visit. The doctor said she was three months pregnant. Grace had walked into all our lives.
The work of salvation is the most critical act of grace in our lives. “It is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). But isn’t it amazing that grace also wants to bring occasions of pleasure and delight into our lives.
Tanya is a pastor’s wife and has been on the South Carolina Ladies Ministries committee 25 years. She was secretary eight years and has been president for two years.