I’m a great believer in grace, because I’ve experienced it in large doses. There was a time when I made terrible choices and wandered around in a dark haze of my own making. That’s when I was saved by grace and I’m always grateful for it. Grace catches us unawares and fills us with delight. It also calls us to live with joy and gratitude.
Grace and Delight
The God we worship is too often a God of judgement. We perceive that He is ever ready to strike us when we step out of line. That is why, I often notice that very religious people seem to be the most sombre and stressed lot. I know because I’ve been there too.
The God I’ve come to believe in is one who delights in me. He knows I’m not perfect, but he supplies endless grace for me to get better! He does not demand perfection, He longs for love. He wants me to live in grace and joy!
My late uncle, a Catholic priest, once shared this story in his sermon. He told me the source was The Lord Is My Shepherd, But…Confessions of The Natural Man by Barbara Jurgensen.
Petronius was waiting in a slow moving line before he got his turn at the Judgment. He sees an angel coming along with delicious hot-buttered rolls, holding out a tray to each person. Petronius is hungry, but he suddenly realizes he must not take a roll. All his life he did his best to avoid being carried away by pleasure. He had deliberately ignored pleasurable things in order to concentrate his attention more fully on serving God. Similarly he passes by a bed of fragrant red flowers and a cute kitten beckons him to pet it. He feels he is being tested.
Then, Petronius hears God saying, “Well done, my son, I’m glad you came here. There’s just one thing…” Then Petronius noticed that God had something on his lap – a small yellow and white kitten. On the table next to God’s throne he noticed a vase of the fragrant flowers he had forced himself to ignore. And a plate with a half-eaten roll.
The moral of the story according to Jurgensen: People will have to give an account to God on the day of judgment for all the good things they failed to enjoy!
In October, I started writing a series called 31 Days about Living A Principle Driven Life. Since I wasn’t able to complete it then, I’m doing so now. You can follow my posts here.