But for the Grace of God

diamond lake - nederland, colorado

Where would we be but for the grace of God? There are so many examples in life whereby we couldn’t imagine how we survived, thrived or accomplished, but for something greater than ourselves. The odds of any one of us even being born are astronomical according to scientists and statisticians, with some saying 1 in 400 trillion.

The awareness of grace is cause for much gratitude, for surrender, and for humility. I heard a man last night, before tennis league play, boldly proclaiming that he was 33 years old and had plenty of time to plan a great retirement nest egg. He was confidently speaking of his investment acumen. I couldn’t help but remember one of my grandmother’s phrases: “The Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.” While this man was speaking the truth in a practical worldly sense, there is also the opportunity to recognize the role of grace in our lives. Each moment we have is by divine grace, by our leaning into the awareness of grace.

Twenty-five years ago, shortly after moving to San Francisco, I made a quick decision that could have cost me my life or otherwise not turned out well. I had attended a San Francisco 49ers professional football game and gotten a ride from a friend to the game. Since we were going in opposite directions after the game I told him I would catch a cab home. If there were cabs waiting outside the stadium, they were nowhere to be found in the area where I exited.

Seeing me looking for a cab, a man said that for $10 he could give me a ride home to San Francisco (the stadium was south of the city). Without giving it much thought, being the trusting person I’ve always been, I said “sure,” thankful that I had found a ride home. Being new to San Francisco, I didn’t know much about the route home, so I paid little attention to the roads being taken. However, I became alarmed when the man pulled off the road and onto a dark field. I was in the front passenger seat and there was a second man in the back seat.

I asked what was going on and the look on their faces and the energy suggested that they were not up to anything for my good. Somewhere within I summoned a powerful voice and began to demand that they fulfill the agreement to take me home. “You told me you would take me to San Francisco, now take me to San Francisco,” I said very firmly. Looking like he wasn’t even sure why he was obeying my command, the driver pulled back onto the road and drove me to San Francisco as originally agreed.

It was a rattling experience and one that reminded me where I place my trust. My trust is in divine wisdom and guidance within me. That day I did not pause to check in with my inner guidance before accepting a ride. What I relied on was more like blind faith or trust, as opposed to trust grounded in deeper knowing through divine guidance.

I am grateful that, through the grace of God, even my bumbling moments turn out okay. As much as many of us feel very competent and self-assured, most of us would likely admit that the good we have in our lives is through a combination of our own efforts and the grace of God.

The invitation today is to pay attention to divine grace in our lives, to give thanks for all the help we receive from “on high,” and to take ourselves a little bit less seriously. Life is good and we are supported by life!

Enjoy the journey.

8 Comments

  1. Donna Mosher says:

    What a brilliant distinction: “What I relied on was more like blind faith or trust, as opposed to trust grounded in deeper knowing through divine guidance.”

  2. Natalie Ottobrino says:

    What a great story Gregory.

    Thank you for sharing it 25 years later with so many people that get it!

    Love,

    Natalie

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