By Grace Alone
Some mornings I don’t want to get up. I just want to put my head under the covers and pretend I don’t exist. The morning in this story was one of those. I could see a long tedious day stretching ahead of me, full of things I didn’t want to do starting with the dreaded school lunches and finishing with a mountain range of washing to fold. What’s more, this morning had a dental appointment tucked in between school lunches and learn to swim classes. So it was that, not so promptly, at 8.15 I raced down the stairs and jumped into Suzy.
Suzy is a 32-year-old yellow Suzuki Swift who was loaned to us by friends when they realised we needed a temporary second car. She can be reluctant to start some mornings and she is not as beautiful as she once was as her flooring was ripped out because she leaks and then fills up with water. This particular morning was my first opportunity to drive Suzy and I leapt in with some trepidation. Being unable to adjust the seat forward, I drove off sitting upright like a heroine in a Jane Austen movie dropping the clutch and stalling her every few seconds.
By the time I reached the first traffic light I was killing myself with laughter. But I had managed to move the seat forward and we were off. See Suzy, in spite of her age, drives like a race car. She is incredibly stable when you turn corners and, because she has no floor, you can feel the road beneath you. Driving Suzy just makes me feel real and I can’t help loving her. On this morning, however, Suzy was more than my personal dilapidated race car, she was God’s grace to me, reminding me of the joy in the every day.
It is easy to see life as mundane and to forget that God’s grace is all around us. It’s there in the dreaded school lunches made from grain that grew at the grace of God, in the breeze and the sun that brush my shoulders as I hang out my washing, in the gift of my husband and three beautiful boys. All of these things are precious gifts that I have not earned, that simply come to me from the hands of a Father who loves me. Suzy reminds me that life is good even when I’m driving to the dentist.
But Suzy also reminds me of the way that God’s grace is given to us through the hands of those around us, sometimes those who care for us, sometimes complete strangers. One of the strange, spiky gifts that living on support has given me is an awareness that everything I own, the food I eat, the education for my children, my healthcare is reliant on God’s grace through the kindness of others. But it is not always easy to see this support as God’s grace. More often than not I am tempted to worry. Do I deserve it? Am I working hard enough? What outcomes have I achieved? Sometimes I wish for a simple job where I am paid for what I do, where my finances are in my control.
And yet what a gift it is to remember that we have not earned any of these things. They are gifts that come from the hand of the Father, most often administered through the loving hands of others. Gifts we should use in his service, yes! But gifts none the less. All of us, no matter what we do, exist only by God’s grace. Suzy was a gift of love to us when we needed her and the grace in her brings us joy.
Jesus said, “I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” Luke 12: 22–24
The author is an Interserve Partner currently on Home Assignment.