This year, I’m counting gifts with Ann Voskamp. I named 2013 the year of grace because in this year, I choose to see His grace. I choose to write it. To photograph it. To remember it.
#2 just-right work jeans found at first stop
#3 WCSG playing favorites loud, “Kings and Queens”
#4 prayers with Mollie
#16 travertine and the sky – God’s art
#25 freedom to sleep in
#27 soft cookies
#28 Lewis’s ever applicable wisdom (Mere Christianity)
#34 rain floods cow pasture
#42 first paycheck
#50 rain pouring like grace
#51 shining puddles
#60 snow surprise out morning window
#61 onion rings
#62 falling asleep cradled in the King’s arms
#74 midday moon
I’ve counted the easy gifts, gifts beautifully wrapped. But there are more gifts, more graces. And sometimes I choose blindness because grace can be painful, bloody. Once it hung on a cross. And I’m supposed to die too? And call it grace?
I’m not the only one. Ever since that dreadful day in Eden, we’ve each chosen to hide from the grace that came to do us good. Imagine if you had been Adam or Eve when God said,
“The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (Gen ch 3.22-24)
“Grace?” you would ask. Yes, grace. A severe mercy. It’s a punishment of protection. Think what would have happened if we had eaten the life-fruit, doomed ourselves to live forever in the death of the first fruit. Life comes only through complete death (Ro 6:6-11). So imagine eternal, unfinished soul death on. and on. and on. No hope of heaven.
Can you see it? Grace. Grace drove them out. Grace guarded that garden.
Do you think the wilderness wanderers saw the desert as grace?
Take care lest you forget the Lord your God who…led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you,
to do you good in the end. (Deut 8:11a, 15-16)
Did they remember the stinging scorpions and see blessing? Did they look out over the parched earth and remember that God gave them the desert to do them good in the end.
And when the angels grabbed Lot and his family and dragged them out of their home, did they see grace?
But Lot lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. (Gen 19:16)
Would you have seen it? Would I?
I love counting His grace. But I haven’t counted it all. I haven’t counted the to-do-you-good-in-the-end-grace. I haven’t counted his severe mercy in my life because it sometimes seems too severe and I can’t see the end yet. But the moon is round, and I must trust in His goodness. The end is sure. It is good. And I know that.
So today, I’m opening my eyes and counting the hard-to-see-grace. Will you count it with me?