I’ve seen some wonderful miracles throughout my life, and this past year has been even more amazing. Sometimes I get miracle and coincidence confused, but not this year — it’s been pretty obvious. I’ve been unemployed or underemployed for almost a whole year now, and even though it’s been financially tough, we have seen God show up and miraculously provide for us time and again.
He has been teaching me the paradox of being dependent on Him, while at the same time practicing wisdom and diligence. He’s been teaching me how important it is for me to back off and let Him act, provide, defend, etc. instead of stressing out, panicking, and doing something because I’m afraid and want to take control.
I’ve learned to sit back and say, “I wonder how God is going to solve this problem, because I’ll just make a mess of it if I try to fix it.” In other words, I’ve learned to trust in God’s Common and Special Grace.
Sometimes, with all the bad news floating around us, it’s hard to remember that His grace and provision is truly abundant. Theologians (who love to embrangle simple ideas in complicated language) talk about the good things that happen to humanity in two categories: Common Grace and Special Grace.
Common Grace (click here for a very embrangled definition) encapsulates all the good things that happen to everyone. As Jesus says in Matthew 5:45, “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Or, as John Murry of Westminster Seminary defines it: “Every favor of whatever kind or degree, failing short of salvation, which this undeserving and sin-cursed world enjoys at the hand of God.” It is the Common Grace that allows us to be alive, even experience joy and love, while in a condemned state (2 Peter 3:9). It is his Common Grace that provides for all humanity, even when we are completely undeserving.
Special Grace (click here for more embranglement) is that wonderful, amazing gift where God changes our hearts so that we may see our sin, turn from it, and accept Jesus as our Saviour. Without His Special Grace we would never see our sin for what it is, never hate our sin, and would therefore never turn from it. It is His Special Grace by which we are saved.
Take some time today to thank God for His Common and Special Graces. First, for the salvation of our souls in Jesus, but also for rain, sun, food, teachers, medicine, books, plants, cold water, smiles, loved ones, cotton… and any other good thing.
What about you? What did it miss? What Common Graces are you thankful for?