(We’d sung the song by Matt Redman, Your Grace Finds Me, as a congregation many times, but one Sunday last summer, the words in the refrain impacted me differently.
Your grace finds me;
Yes, Your grace finds me!
Since that Sunday, I keep being reminded of ways God’s grace has found me in the past, finds me in the present, and I’m assured, will continue to find me in the future.)
Grace I Don’t Deserve
I was traveling to work one morning, lost in deep thought about my 9 a.m. appointment. I liked the lady with whom I had the appointment. She was a devoted mom, actively involved in church volunteer work, and I found her quirky sense of humor refreshing. But, she was also in deep pain, and couldn’t seem to find freedom in a very difficult relationship. “Lord, help me see what I need to know about this precious woman’s heart,” I prayed while driving to the office.
I was only a few blocks away from the church when I glanced in the rear view mirror and noticed the unmistakable flashing blue lights behind me. A quick glance around at the empty street convinced me those lights were meant for me. At the next cross street, I turned, parked the car, all the while wondering whatever was wrong.
The handsome young police officer (HYPO) exited his patrol car. The conversation that morning between the police officer and me went something like this:
HYPO: “Morning, mam. Do you have any idea why I’m stopping you?”
Me: “I’m sorry, officer, but I don’t have a clue.”
HYPO: “I didn’t think so.”
Me: Perplexed as I handed over my up-to-date driver’s license, registration and proof-of-insurance card.
HYPO: “Thanks, mam. You remember those flashing yellow lights by Ramsey School back there?”
Me (gulping): “I’m sorry, officer, but I don’t.”
HYPO: “I didn’t think so. You sailed right on past me.”
Me: “Oh, my goodness. I am SO sorry. I wasn’t paying attention. [At this point—rather wisely, I believe—I decided it wouldn’t be prudent to explain I wasn’t paying attention because I was praying for my 9:00 appointment!!]
HYPO returns to his patrol car. I assume he’s checking my record for any criminal activity.
Me: I’m feeling confident he’d find none!
HYPO, sauntering back to my vehicle: “Well, mam, I’m not going to give you a ticket today, but in the future, you need to be more careful when driving through school zones.”
Me: “Thank you so much! I know I deserve a ticket, and I assure you I will be more careful in the future.”
HYPO: “You do that, mam. Now have a good day!”
After taking a couple minutes to catch my breath and return the documents to their rightful locations, I began thinking about my interaction with the nice young police officer. He had every legal right—plus the authority—to give me a ticket for exceeding the 25 mph speed limit through a school zone when the yellow light is flashing.
Instead, the officer acted with grace and showed me mercy.
I know I may be running a risk here of over-spiritualizing a ticket for driving too quickly through a school zone, but as I finished my short commute to work that morning, I couldn’t help but believe once again, grace had found me! My encounter with the HYPO was an apt illustration of God’s grace.
There was a season in my life when I knew my personal choices were not in alignment with God’s will. Yet, I persisted. During that time, I rarely opened my Bible except occasionally when I’d let it drop open to some unknown place—always in the back of my mind, feeling certain I would be zapped by some condemning message. That isn’t what happened. Without fail, every time, the message I received was one of God’s goodness and love for me. Eventually, I was able to walk away from the choice I had made. God’s grace outmaneuvered my rebellion.
God had every right to deal harshly with me, and God had the authority to do so, but that wasn’t the heart of God.
Instead, God acted with grace and showed me mercy.
I still drive past Ramsey School several times each week, and I never fail to watch for those flashing yellow lights. My decision isn’t because I’m afraid my luck ran out. I’m not fearful of being caught, forced to pay a big fine and run the risk of insurance premiums being raised.
The experience of receiving the HYPO’s grace motivates me to pay attention and reduce my speed because I realize the law behind those flashing yellow lights is intended to protect little children—to ensure safety.
Likewise, I’m not tempted to return to that behavior I knew didn’t align with God’s will—not because I’m fearful of God’s angry response or of how others may judge me.
The experience of receiving God’s grace motivates me to consider more carefully my behavioral choices because I believe sincerely God’s ways are meant to protect me and those I love. God’s direction is intended for my wellbeing. Because God is a loving Heavenly Father, I know there are times when I may suffer painful consequences because of my choices, but even when that happens, I believe beyond any doubt
Grace finds me—even when I don’t deserve it!
Thank you, God, for the extension of your love, goodness and grace to us—even when we know we’re undeserving. Help me become an ever-increasingly gracious woman, and please, keep teaching me how to extend your grace to those whose lives intersect with mine. Amen
May you continue to be blessed with God’s good grace!
Ron was testing out a new camera lens and captured these two beautiful geese swimming gracefully in the cold winter waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Living in such a beautiful region is part of God’s grace to us!