Moment of Grace

They brought the boy to him. And when he saw him, the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions. As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around and foam at the mouth. 

Then [Jesus] questioned his father, “How long has this been happening to him?”

He replied, “Since childhood. It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 

Jesus said to him, “‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.” 

Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”

Mark 9:20-24

 

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Moment of Grace

“Everything is possible to one who has faith.” Powerful words. What is the connection between faith and miracles?

Grace

I first understood grace on a day that promised to be terrible but became beautiful.

My great-aunt, whom we all loved and respected for her great goodness, had dementia. She could no longer live on her own. So we invited her for a visit.

Some months after she came, she discovered that we had never intended to let her go back home. She was furious, wouldn’t speak to anyone, wouldn’t spend time with us. We didn’t know what to do. So we prayed.

The day that promised to be terrible was the day my parents were going to explain it to her. They had to tell this fiercely independent woman that they could not trust her to be alone. They had to tell her, this woman who had made good decisions for them since they were young, that she couldn’t make good decisions anymore. I prayed the entire time they were talking to her.

When they came back, I asked how it went. My dad said, “Amazingly wonderful.” I couldn’t believe my ears. “We told her, ‘We know you want to go home and live alone and make your own decisions. But we believe it’s best that you stay here.’ She said, in her strong, stubborn way, ‘I know it is. I just want you to tell me, not trick me.'”

Could there have been a better outcome to this dreaded conversation? She accepted what they were saying, this stubborn woman whom we all dearly loved. More than that, she agreed with it. She just wanted everyone to be honest with her.

To me, this is grace: When something evil and inevitable inexplicably turns to good.

Faith

How do we cooperate with grace? The first way to cooperate is to have faith that good can and will come from evil. Even if we can do nothing to further grace, even if we can’t bring any sort of good out of evil, we can do one thing.

We can believe that Someone can and will bring good from it.

Miracles

Grace is the missing piece between faith and miracles. This is why Jesus requires faith for miracles. Through faith, we cooperate with grace and become channels of grace to those around us. Grace brings miraculous good out of something evil, inevitable, and humanly unchangeable.

On the other hand, unbelief hampers the flow of grace into our lives. We lose so many good things because we don’t believe they could happen. We lose the chance to pass on that grace to others.

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!

6 thoughts on “Moment of Grace

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