Ever since Dr. Pate held me upside down by my heels to slap me on the backside I have grasped for breath.I did not know it at the time but no sooner had air filled my lungs, I started to long for grace. That longing comes with the human condition.
At home I need grace from my wife and children. In the traffic I want grace to come my way. At work, when I shop, and as I meet strangers or friends–I long for grace.
I have never met a person who did not long for grace.
Every conceivable relationship and encounter are enhanced when grace is extended.
As I age my desire for grace from above increases in intensity. I so want to breathe it in.
In Luke’s Gospel Jesus tell a story of two men. Even though I want to be more like the second man, the long end of the stick I have received throughout life makes it far too easy to see myself in the first.
As they go to worship to pray the “good man” begins his speech:
God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.
Then the second man identified as a tax collector—read into his tag the lowest form of life—in utter contrition, he looks toward the ground with shame. He stood at a distance afraid to get to close to the Holy.
As he beats his breast in self judgment, he seeks the breath of grace with his pathetic plea: God have mercy on me, a sinner.
If I am not careful, I recite the good man’s short list and tack on a lengthy one of my own. I have not killed; I have not coveted my friend’s BMW—even though I would look great and be the envy of all who wait for the traffic light to turn green.
I have attended church since birth. On and on my list could go. However, without the breath of grace inhaled and exhaled from my soul my list sums zero.
Here is what I think.
When God knit me together in my mother’s womb—as He does every child He creates—He inserted a special grace magnet into a Holy set of lungs and programmed the field to seek breath from Him.
For only from the Creator can the long for grace be fulfilled.
The only way the grace magnet can align with the grace the Father wants so much to give, is to have that aha moment when I identify totally and completely with Jesus’ tax collector.
The breath of grace comes in that single solitary moment when I see me as I am. Lost and hopeless are the best I can do when left on my own.
At the split second I hang my head in shame and cannot even look up to heaven but can only scream in despair from the depth of my soul, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” will the breath of grace begin to sustain my spirit.
The good news is every single soul living on planet earth can have the longing for grace supplied.
God only needs an open heart to fill the void. He stands ready to supply any longing with the Holy breath of grace.
Don’t you think we should all reach out with contrite hearts each new morning of life?
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on Long For Grace