We’re All in Rehab (So a little grace goes a long way)
Like many of you we’ve had our share of challenges the last few months. To give you perspective, we are sending our Christmas letter just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. The week before Christmas my wife had a serious fall, broke her leg and damaged some ligaments. This was followed by 2 injuries to my basketball-playing daughter, a junior in high school. Not to be outdone, I followed with a back injury, and my 83-year old mother who lives up the road rose to the occasion by having some health challenges.
In January our living room was filled with walkers, icepacks, ace-bandages, crutches, and a motorized scooter. It looked like a rehab center on steroids. But it gets better – this past week my wife and daughter were in a car wreck on an icy hill. Thankfully they’re fine, but it was a traumatic event fraught with great potential for disastrous results.
Initially, I did not see the rapid-fire stream of text messages popping on my phone – I was teaching a class. But soon I saw the screen flashing, and what I read was terrifying. Dad!!! Accident!!! Please call!! DAD!!!!! Help! !!!! Call us now!!! Immediately I got hold of my wife and discovered all were Ok.
I left my university office after dealing with the aftermath of the accident, and stopped at our little coffee shop before leaving campus. “Hi, Dr. Donahue, how may I help you?” the student-attendant asked warmly. “Just a cup of coffee. What do I owe you?”
“Nothing,” she replied with a wry smile. “It’s your luck day.” Really? You’re kidding me. Please…my family doesn’t need any more ‘luck.’
I smiled gently back as if to say, “Dear child, you have no idea how wrong you are.”
“No…really. It’s perfect timing. The graduate student who was just here said, ‘I’m buying coffee for the next person who walks up here. Just tell them to have a great day and enjoy the coffee.’”
I had come to the shop looking for a little caffeine; instead I got a double-shot Venti cup of grace. More than what I needed. Much more than I deserved.
Now I really smiled, and she was beaming with joy. She was getting such a kick out of my response, just standing there, a sense of wonder and irony filling my soul…ambushed by grace. She had no idea what was happening but she was pleased with the joy that filled the room along with the aroma of a free coffee.
And, as though that wasn’t enough, I was graced once more as I left the building. The university is not very far from Lake Michigan, and a light, gentle snow was falling. Lake effect snow that can come briefly when the cool winter air meets the moisture off the water.
It was a slow, quiet snowfall. Large, floating flakes that calmly drifted toward the earth. Not a sound was heard as I walked to my car through the forested area that surrounds the parking lot. Quiet, still, peaceful, restful, beautiful.
And there, in the quiet, I heard the Voice…the still, small Voice. No one heard it but me. Because it was just for me. The Voice compelled me to see a reality that was greater than my circumstances. The grace of God was coming resting upon me like the steady, beautiful snow, blanketing my sorrow, worry and fear with joy, peace and hope.
It was as though God said,
Bill…learn from this snow and experience my goodness and favor. Feel it as it rests on your head and lands refreshingly on your tongue. This is my grace on you.
To be sure, at times I pour it out in one thunderous heap that buries you in love and healing in times of extreme trial and suffering; but this time, there is no grace blizzard in the forecast. This time it comes as a gentle but relentless shroud of comfort, wrapping around your frustrated self and weary heart.
Your steady flow of life’s challenges is now met by My steady flow of grace. Like a small cup of free coffee, or a gentle, quiet snowfall, enjoy the little gifts of grace I am providing for the journey.
And remember…My grace is always sufficient for you.
I needed that. I really needed that.
You see we are all in Rehab. We are all hobbling around on the crutches of uncertainty, anger, fear, loneliness and grief. And we all need grace. Lot’s of it, we assume.
That’s ok. There’s plenty to go around…there’s no shortage of supply…no lack of spiritual resources.
But the good news is we only need a little.
Because a little grace can go a long way.
We would like to encourage your feedback as it helps us to identify the issues that are important to you. It also helps others who are searching to develop new creative ways of leading. Thank you in advance for your comments.