The dictionary defines grace as “God’s unmerited favor; mercy.” I have heard numerous sermons on this topic over the years. These messages often use the two words grace and mercy interchangeably; however, over the course of my life, I have come see them as two distinctly different attributes of God. Continuing further down the dictionary entry, one of the definitions stands out to me: “the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.” God’s spirit strengthening me…that is the grace I know.
There are references throughout the bible about the grace of God, but my favorite is “He resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.” When I am walking in his grace, I am empowered to do that to which he has called me. I love this about him. He calls me to something, and then gives me the grace to do it because I cannot do it myself. The strength to go through life, through cancer, through work, comes through his sacrifice. You fill in the blank with your own difficult situation. Then remember…grace empowers.
At dusk, lift your face and watch the light streaming through cotton candy clouds. As the sun fades, the colors change from pink to purple, red to orange. A spectacular palate of vivid color is blended in such a way to draw our eyes to the horizon. Each night a different masterpiece appears, and we are in awe. The creator displays his splendor in a sunset…a picture of his grace.
The parallel is that at the end of the day, the moments you walked, and the work you did, blend together to create your own portrait of his grace. You were empowered by him to complete your tasks, to make a difference in a life, to minister to others, to live fully and love completely. Ideally, your day was filled with peace, because you responded to his leading. The colors in the day of your life blend and create a picture that points others to the horizon and causes them to look up.
Is everyday filled with his grace? I believe it could be, however, we also have to remember the human factor. We forget. We get busy. We make mistakes. Here is where the difference between the power of grace and the compassion of mercy comes in. After a day when I fail to use his grace, comes the darkness of night. I am tired from striving. I am grieved from falling. I am weak from confusion. Stumbling through the dark of my choice to live without his grace I find a place on my knees. I cry out my new choice and the sun comes up in the morning of my life. The light will stream through the darkness of the previous night, and mercy begins again. “His mercy is new every morning.” The rays of sunlight break through the clouds to remind me of his unmerited favor in my life. He will not leave me or forsake me no matter how badly I deserve it. I can walk in his grace or I can walk away from it, and his mercy will still endure forever. He will not walk away from me because the sunrise brings hope of a new day…every day.