The Accentuation of Grace
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Snow in the south is like rain in the desert. It’s prayed for, rejoiced over, and trampled through. Its occurrences are rare, so when it does arrive, it is welcomed with squeals of delight and thunderous rounds of applause. This past Friday, it received a standing…and sliding…ovation!
There’s something magnetic about snow. Somewhere, in its molecular makeup, there’s a very powerful, people-pulling electron that makes one grab coats, boots, and gloves and run out into the midst of it. No matter how old I get, when snow starts to fall, so too does my attraction to the indoors. With each falling flake, I’m magnetized and hypnotized. The next thing I know, I’ve been pulled outside and the polarized snowflakes are wreaking havoc on my molecular composition!
That’s what happened to me this past Friday. The snow was falling so beautifully that I just had to go outside. I walked to the creek, enjoying the snow as it fell within the woods. As I looked about, I couldn’t help but notice the way the snow outlined the trees…each tree…every tree. My eyes moved from one to another until I realized I was no longer looking at the woods, but through the woods! And, my visibility didn’t stop there. As far as my eyes could see, not only were shapes outlined, but so too were their details, bringing clarity and closeness to that which otherwise would have seemed far away. Then I wondered…if this is true for snow, is it also true for grace?
If you’ve read a couple of my earlier posts, namely Snowflakes of Grace and Dirty Grace?, you know that I like to compare snow and grace There’s just such an apparent correlation between the two that it’s hard for me to see the one without thinking of the other. So on this day, when I was looking at the snow, I was thinking about its counterpart, grace. And so I wondered, is there a connection between the visibility snow brings to trees and the visibility grace brings to lives? Does grace etch a person’s life the way snow etches a tree’s branches? Does grace impact a group the way snow impacts a woods, reducing the assemblage of many to an assortment of individuals? Does grace, like snow, draw our vision out further and further until we see that which was once unnoticed? And as I asked, the answers fell with the snow…and within the snow. And that’s when I saw it: the accentuation of grace.
I must say, I was not expecting to receive such a lesson. Snow-lined trees had never appeared before as tutors of God’s word, but on this day that’s just what they were. And because of God’s grace, I had ears to hear…or, more precisely, eyes to hear. And through my eyes, God spoke gracefully, glisteningly, and gloriously. Once again, He showed me truths through His snowflakes of grace. As I attempt to share these truths with you, please have your visualization glasses handy…they may enhance your hearing!
Remember how I said the snow on the trees caused them to stand out so that I was able to see further? That simple tracing of white caused each tree to stand apart from the others so that my eye traveled from one to another. Those that, in their natural coloring, would have blended in with their wooded surroundings, now stood out as if highlighted by nature’s pen. Well, in much the same way, that’s what grace does to us. Just as snow defines a tree, grace defines us. Grace has a way of collecting in our crevices, of smoothing over our rough surfaces, and of highlighting our structures. The presence of grace also causes us to stand out from others as our individuality is illuminated so that we’re no longer seen as a part of the whole, but now we’re seen apart from the whole.
So just how does this grace fall upon us? How do we become people whose lives are etched with its snow-like purity? It begins when we are drawn to God; this pulling is nothing short of God giving us that which we do not deserve (the definition of grace). Paul records this snowfall in Ephesians 2:8. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God; not of works, lest anyone should boast.” The first dusting of grace fell upon us when God called us to become His children through faith in Him. The second sprinkling came when we received “redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Eph. 1:7). The third flurry fell when we were justified freely by His grace.” (Romans 3:24). Then, because we have a Heavenly Father who loves to shower us with grace, He allows us to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16).
With such an outpouring of grace, how can we not be demarked and defined? How can we not stand out among and within the forest of humanity? What snow does for trees, grace does for people. The trouble, however, lies in the eyes; in the way that we look with them…and the way that we hear with them. It’s one thing to notice snow on a tree…it’s quite another to notice grace on a person. Wouldn’t it be nice if, as our eyes scanned across the people we encounter every day, we saw them bedecked in grace? What if we saw all that God covered rather than all that nature creased? What if we saw the person instead of the party, the kid instead of the crowd? What…if…we…saw…grace? Would it change the way we greeted others, or treated others? Would it change the distance of our vision…and the distinctness of our vision? Would we see beyond what lies before and before what lies beyond? And, if we saw such grace, how much more would we hear? Instead of letting our eyes give voice to the world, would our eyes now give voice to the Creator? Would we hear Him every time we saw them? Here’s what I think: what’s true in the woods is also true in the woulds.
Oh, that we would allow God’s grace to fall upon us, and to cover us, and to defines us. Oh, that we would look upon others the way God looks upon us, as recipients of His robes of righteousness. Oh, that we would see the accentuation of grace on mankind as clearly as we see the delineation of snow on maples. Oh, that we would see every individual conspicuously outlined by God’s snowfall of grace. And oh, that we would hear God’s gentle reminder…“for by grace you have been saved…and that not of yourselves…it is a gift from Me.”
A quiet snowfall, a quick walk, a quaint woods, a quaking lesson. I hope you were able to see it with me…and to hear it with me. Now, with God’s grace, I hope you will try to walk it with me. We’ll need grace upon grace…but we have access to a never ending supply at the throne of grace. Let’s plan on meeting there!