Why is it we typically think about God’s grace only when we get what we want?
by Cindy Costello
With age and some emotional maturing, I have come to the point where I can admit that God knows the needs of the world and little ol’ me better than I do. Every day I pray for his help and guidance as I go about my normal life: making choices, engaging in activities, working, volunteering and all the other things that are part and parcel of life. Every day I pray for God’s grace for myself, for those I love and the entire world. I especially pray that grace finds me because most of the time I have a hard time recognizing it even when it is staring me in the face. Sometimes it may take me hours, days or weeks to recognize an event as grace filled and it is often hard to find the grace in a bad situation. Why is it we typically think about God’s grace only when we get what we want?
I am most likely to recognize the grace of God in my life when it is something positive or something that I have prayed about, asked for or wanted as an answer to prayer. This is obviously rather short sighted. Many of my greatest (but not easiest) gifts, lessons and even joys have come from the detours and seeming “no’s” of life. You know, the proverbial open window when the door was nowhere to be seen. Somehow or another God’s grace and Santa Claus seem to be mixed up in my head.
In these few days of turmoil in St. Louis, finding the grace in it all really has me scratching my head. I mourn the loss of life and other lives irrevocably changed. I am saddened by the violence and looting. Not only am wondering when it became okay to treat people with so little dignity and respect, I am having a hard time finding the grace in this situation. As people reel from shock and try to make heads or tails out of the situation, I pray that someday everyone finds a smidgen of grace even amidst the tragedy. Maybe it will be the helping hand of a neighbor, the eloquent words of a pastor or a renewed interest in learning how to speak truth without violence. Surely there is something good that can come out of this; surely God has a plan.
For now I will remember that grace does not always present itself in a way that I like or want. That sometimes I have to dig to find the grace and sometimes it may take a long time to fully understand how even in devastation there can be good. Grace is not wish fulfillment. It is a way that God meets us in our daily lives and helps us move forward in his plan. Sometimes it can feel like a setback on the human plane, but from God’s vantage point the divine plan is ever unfolding.