Monday, March 22, 2010

Gratitude and Grace

In two recent Wednesday posts, I’ve shared a bit about how I’m learning to better listen to the Holy Spirit during day-to-day interactions with my husband.

There’s a brief space of time between my husband’s communication and my response. It’s during those brief moments that I can choose to listen to the Holy Spirit . . . or not. And after listening, I can choose the respectful response . . . or not.

Reflecting on these experiences brings to mind a short story by Christian author Flannery O’Connor. In “A Good Man Is Hard To Find,” O’Connor’s main character is a contemptuous old woman who is shot dead by a drifter. Only at the moment of her death, do her heart and mind open to God.

As she dies, her killer says, “She would have been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”

While that short story has a somber plot, it resonates with me. Yes, I’m thankful for the many delightful gifts God has given me: my husband, our children, our extended family, our friends, my job, and our home. I’m also thankful for the simple pleasures that each day typically brings. I have so much, an outpouring of God’s grace.

But, I’ve come to conclude that the real evidence of God’s continuous grace in my life is the constant nudges from the Holy Spirit that convict me of sin. Sometimes they come during real-time interactions with the people I meet over the course of a day. Other times they come while I’m in prayer, or studying my Bible, or sitting in the sanctuary at Trinity on a Sunday morning. Just a few of weeks ago—during our sermon series on Reasonable Sins—I was prompted to write an apology note for some ungracious speech.

Often, those nudges are like being shot. They’re humbling. They’re an assault on my pride and my independence.

But because they are all of those things, they drive me to a greater dependence on God and a deeper appreciation of His love for me. They’re what I need to grow as a Christian.

For this outpouring of grace, I lift up my hands in gratitude.

John 1:16 (ESV): And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.


1 comment:

  1. It's His grace. You're right!
    Because those "shots" from the Holy Spirit are to bring us LIFE, not death.
    Ironic, isn't it, that those nudges which humble us - which assault our pride and cause us to perhaps regret the way we've been behaving - are motivated by a pure and profound love from the One who would never do anything to harm us.
    Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Marilyn.