Take a moment. Pause and take notice. Can you feel His touch today? Can you see His hand of grace upon your life?
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.
Psalm 86:5-7 – NIV
One year ago, I walked beside the wheelchair through the double doors to the waiting car outside. One year ago, I helped her into the car seat and bid farewell to the nursing technician before climbing inside for the ride home.
Twelve days earlier, we had received the panic phone call. We found my mother in law Liz lying on a hospital gurney in the emergency room. She still had her tennis shoes on from her three mile walk that morning. She had gone for a routine echocardiogram and landed in the ED instead. Shocked and confused, the three of us listened to the cardiologist explain that there was a mushroom shaped tumor floating in the upper chamber of her heart. What started out as a normal morning turned into a heart catheterization and later in the week, a trip to the operating room.
One year ago, we had worn paths in the OR waiting room floor as the minutes turned to hours, and the hours stretched far too long. We had held our breath when they finally called us back to speak to the surgeon, our own hearts pounding when we learned there had been bleeding complications. The surgeon was reassuring, but the knot in my stomach took on pretzel proportions.
Liz celebrated her 85th birthday with a wheelchair ride from the ICU to the stepdown unit, and continued to improve daily, finally stepping into the wheelchair for her exit ride out the hospital doors. She was so glad to get home, but the bumps in the road continued. There was the ambulance ride to the ED in the wee hours of the morning, and a mercifully quick discharge home three hours later just as the hospital shut its doors to visitors due to the Covid-19 crisis. The bumps continued with more panic calls to doctors and medication adjustments. Amid our personal crisis, the world was shutting down, closing doors, battening the hatches against a new deadly virus that was holding the globe hostage.
As the world donned masks and squirted hand sanitizer, Liz took fledgling steps down the sidewalk. While the body of Christ celebrated Easter Sunday scattered and isolated in our homes, Liz began getting her strength back. Her breaths became easier, her walks longer. As we all battled our anxieties and adjusted to the new normal we struggled to comprehend, Liz made her way back to health.
One year later, Liz just celebrated her 86th birthday with a bright smile on her face and a joyful skip in her step. She is whole and well, and thankful to be here.
One year later, church doors are re-opening and in-person school is back in session. In the span of a year, life saving vaccines have been developed and are steadily being administered to high risk populations. Bumps in the road continue, but humanity is slowly making its way back to health.
A year later, the word that comes to me is “grateful.” I am so grateful for His grace. I am so grateful for how God has met us in the hard places of this year and led us through them. I am so grateful for His presence in the sunshine and the sorrows of this past year. Although Liz fully recovered, her dear husband declined and departed from this life in November. Yet, even in that loss, I am grateful, grateful that he did not suffer, grateful that he is now at peace. God’s grace has been there in the sunshine, and His hand of grace has been there in the sorrow too.
As I share this story of grace, , I know there are countless others around the world whose stories did not have happy endings. I know that millions are still struggling medically, financially, even spiritually. I know that the burden of heartache still lies heavy on so many lives.
Perhaps “grateful” is not the word you would choose today. I can understand that too. But as I look back over the course of this past year, and I consider the course of my own life journey, I find that God’s grace has been at its brightest in my darkest moments. His hand of grace has never left my side even if I was too discouraged or distracted to see it. God has waited and walked with me through it all, always present in the times that worked out well and the times that didn’t.
Friends, I don’t know what word you would choose today, but even if you find yourself discouraged or disappointed, even if you are still flailing in the mud and mire, hear this truth. God’s grace remains. It stands with you. It will never leave you nor forsake you, even if you cannot see it or feel it just now. Give it time. Let the healing power of God’s great grace deliver you to wholeness once more.
I pray that today and forever, we can be grateful for His grace.
Grateful for His Grace
Grace, God’s Grace,
So grateful for His grace.
More than I deserve.
Nothing I can earn.
More than sufficient.
Enough for each hour.
Redeemed by His power.
All to Him I owe.
Blessed to receive.
Because I believe.
All I need for this day.
Grace, His gift,
No one can take away.
So grateful for His grace.
Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
Psalm 116:7-9 (NIV)
O Lord, our God, we are grateful for Your Grace, so very grateful for the love of Jesus. Because of Jesus, we are set free from the bondage of sin. We are delivered from death. Our tears are wiped away. Our paths are made straight. Our feet set free from stumbling. Our hope is secure. Our joy complete. O Lord God, we are so grateful for Your Grace.
In the Precious Name of Jesus, we pray,