What about when life hurts?
Can we call it grace then? When the friend has hurt your feelings? Or when voices collide like fireworks in the living room? When you hear that bedroom door, slamming to the raggedness that just happened?
When messy life happens — when the sparks fly — I am blind to grace.
But is it even there? Am I blind to grace? Or is grace just … plain … absent?
Can there really be grace in the middle of a mess?
When the doctor says there’s nothing more he can do.
Or when the spouse walks across the threshold that last time.
Or you get the phone call you always feared ever since you birthed her.
What about grace then? Can we find grace in days that bruise and bleed? How can we turn angst or sorrow upside-down to find grace? How can we find God in the broken and messy parts of our life?
Is it even possible? This is the question I ask God: “Lord, Can we trust You when life falls apart?”
“When bridges seem to give way, we fall into Christ’s safe arms, true bridge, and not into hopelessness. It is safe to trust.” — Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts (p. 155)
I read Ann’s words, again and again. I want to live these words in the messiest days.
I open my dictionary and find a definition for grace: “Unmerited divine assistance given to humans for regeneration or sanctification.”
So if we believe God is always here, sovereign and omnipresent,
And if we believe that God is divine and holy,
And if we believe that God is good,
(That he wouldn’t turn His back on us when we bruise and bleed,)
Then yes, grace – unmerited divine assistance — is right here.
I think of how my pastor-friend, Dave, has long described grace in this way, too. He says that Christians often try to put grace in a box. We want to believe that grace is delivered one way only: soft and billowy like cotton or sheets drying on the clothesline.
But sometimes, grace hurts. Sometimes, grace is rough, an abrasive like sandpaper, Dave says.
Sandpaper is a finishing tool that can turn an old dresser into a work of art, an antique tractor into something new again. When we rub against “Grace Like Sandpaper” might we be made new, too?
Yes, I think grace is here, even in this mess. I’m asking for eyes to see it.
How about you? How has grace been like sandpaper in your life?
(Photo: Sandpaper grace…)
Submitted in community with Ann, who asks: What does it look like to believe?