Over the last while, I have been thinking a lot about the concept of grace. Every time I think I have a handle on grace, I realize that I am not even close to fully understanding it.
A while back I read Andy Stanley’s book “The Grace of God.” This book expanded my view of grace even more. I want to share an excerpt from a chapter called “Surprised by Grace.”
No doubt you are familiar with the idea of sowing and reaping. Somewhere along the way you’ve heard someone say, “You reap what you sow.” Other ways of stating the same thing include:
You get what you have coming.
What goes around comes around.
Actions have consequences.
Like all principles, the principle of sowing and reaping can work for you or against you. Felonies result in prison sentences. Academic diligence results in good grades.
This cause and effect principle is foundational to human experience. And it is taught and illustrated in both the Old and New Testaments. We can only assume that God established this principle at the same time he established the law of gravity and other laws of physics. The idea behind any principle is that it makes certain components of life relatively predictable. That’s a good thing …
… While the principle of sowing and reaping continues to be operational in our world, there are exceptions [because of the results of brokenness and sin]. And I bet you already knew that. Like me, you’ve seen some hard-working, responsible people who did everything right financially fall on hard times because of circumstances completely beyond their control. You know people who have took great care of themselves whose bodies were eventually destroyed by disease. I bet you’ve seen dishonest people prosper too.
But the good news is that there is another kind of exception to the principle of sowing and reaping … This exception is the result of God’s love and His mercy. The exception I’m referring to is grace. Just as sin sometimes results in bad things happening to good people, so grace creates the possibility of good things happening to undeserving people. The presence of sin means that sometimes we don’t get the good that we deserve. The presence of grace means that sometimes we don’t get the consequences we deserve.
These words led to me to have an overwhelming sense of God’s incredible grace today. I am reminded of the many many times when I have not received the consequences that I have deserved. This makes me feel incredibly grateful.
I am also reminded of all the good things that I have been blessed with that I don’t deserve. I am blessed with:
- a relationship with God.
- an incredible wife.
- three wonderful children.
- helpful parents.
- encouraging friends.
- a supportive church family.
- my daily needs being met above and beyond.
- the freedom that I enjoy living in Canada.
- the school system that my children are taught in.
- clean water.
- a medical system that is easily accessible .
- so many more things!
I am so thankful that what goes around doesn’t always come around!
Spend some time reflecting on all the good things that you have received that you don’t deserve. Share your thoughts in the comments!