Monday, November 9, 2009

Simple Acts of Grace

Earthshaking movements of God are hard to miss. We can reject them if we want. We can call them "natural" and choose not to see God's hand in them. We can even claim credit for them ourselves. But we cannot simply miss them.

But for every resurrection and each calming of the storm, I believe there are thousands - if not millions - of discreet acts of grace that God carries out every day, and they indeed can be missed. The writer of Lamentations tells us that they are "new every morning." God often surprises us with apparently small, minor events that we can miss if we are not ready for them... The unborn child's leap of joy inside Elizabeth. Jesus deciding to walk across a lake just as the storm has arisen. More fish than the nets can hold. The decision to look up into a sycamore tree when the short man just happens to be sitting there. The Master's wanting Mary to sit and talk instead of rushing to prepare the meal.

I think that human history's first example of a simple act of grace comes in the third chapter of Genesis. As you know, the first chapter tells the story of creation, and the second chapter tells us of the formation of Eve and the placement of the first humans in the garden.

We generally think of Chapter 3 as the story of the Fall, and indeed it is. It is the story of the first temptation, the first sin, and the first punishment for sin. But buried (to those of us who are not looking for it) in there is also the first act of grace. Verse 7 tells us that Adam and Eve, having sinned, suddenly realized their nakedness. Verse 21, which comes before the banishment from the garden, tells us that God "made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them."

Do you see it? Because sin made them naked, God made them clothes. Our loving God is always on the move to repair the damage that sin has done, usually before we are even aware of it. Where sin makes us naked, God makes us clothes.

Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. Paul said it, but he learned it from Genesis.

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