For the past several years I’ve been challenged to grow in my understanding of grace. John Ortberg says it’s “the flow of God’s power and presence and favor in your life, moment by moment, that enables you to do whatever it is God has for you to do.”
So what does God’s grace look like when it is released in our puny little human lives? I got another taste of it recently.
My dear friend Ricky Chelette of Living Hope Ministries and I were privileged to speak at conferences in three Australian cities on a redemptive view of homosexuality, ministering to strugglers, their parents, and ministry workers. The first leg of our flights to Sydney was delayed in Dallas long enough that we missed the connection in Los Angeles, and we were rebooked on the Sydney-bound flight 24 hours later. But that meant that we would arrive in Sydney after 21 hours of traveling at 6:30 a.m., and the first conference started at 9:00 a.m.
Any way you look at it, that’s just crazy.
Neither of us sleeps well sitting up, so we knew we would arrive in Australia quite exhausted and sleep-deprived. Our prayer was, “Lord, we can’t do this unless You show up with grace and power. We are completely dependent on You.”
As the cabin crew started distributing breakfast, we compared notes on how we were feeling. To our amazement, the little snatches of sleep we were able to get recharged our batteries far more than we expected. We felt remarkably good, thanking the Lord for that blessing.
We were whisked off to the church that hosted the conference, arriving at 8:15. That was enough time for both of us to wash our faces, brush our teeth, and change clothes. I was even able to put my contacts back in, which is really saying something considering the burning-eyes syndrome that usually follows a ridiculously long plane flight. At 9:00, we were introduced, and BANG! We were off and running.
And all day, we were aware that God was holding us up in His hands, pouring supernatural energy and alertness into us. We have spoken together at numerous conferences in the past, and there was no difference in the amount of animation or articulation in our teaching. People marveled that we had just stepped off a plane from America and they couldn’t tell at all.
God kept us going all day and through dinner with our hosts, all the way till bedtime, as if we had had a good night’s sleep in our own beds the night before. That’s what grace looks like. That’s what grace feels like. The flow of His power and presence and favor in our lives, moment by moment, that allows us to do whatever God has for us to do.
Grace is God showing off, where He gets the glory and we get to marvel at His power and goodness.
And it’s very, very cool!