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Lines by Lee

Small Graces


October 10, 2019

I have written about and enjoyed God’s amazing grace for a long time. I can’t think of a bigger concept and fact in life. God loves me and demonstrated His grace through Jesus’ death and resurrection. I don’t deserve to be the Lord’s adopted child but am grateful for forgiveness and a place in Heaven. Grace is huge.

But lately I have been thinking about small graces. There are those little things that we experience, do, or have done for us that remind us that God is so good. They can easily go unnoticed. My family can tell you that I am very observant. I try to take in as much as I can. People who write may be a bit unusual. But I think it is wise to be aware of the small ways that we are blessed.

Today I was hanging laundry on the line because it was in the 80s (in October). As I enjoyed the quiet warm day, suddenly I heard a distinct sound. Dozens of acorns fell to the ground. It made me think of a machine gun because of the rapid nature of them hitting the hard soil. That then made me thankful that I have never had to hear a machine gun in combat. It also made me realize how those acorns will bring about future trees if they survive being food for the animals.

Speaking of animals, I am not a cat guy. My mother-in-law is a cat person. She would be almost perfect if it was not for that. She is not extreme like some folks. She went for years without even having a cat. She does, however have a cat shirt or two, cat earrings, and a kitty watch. She seemed to be functioning fine until a stray kitty came along a few years ago. Squeaky found a good home. For me the small grace is that her cat is reclusive so I don’t have to worry about him walking against my leg – too often. Small graces.

Yesterday I needed to be gracious. I was visiting a patient in her home. She is way more of a cat person than Squeaky’s owner. As I arrived at her home there were at least four cats outside glaring at me. The fact that they were outside was a small grace. However, as the visit progressed at the ladies kitchen table with the strong scent of cat food around me I realized that her indoor cat, Lucky, could go anywhere in the house and it did. I was doing some documentation. Suddenly, Lucky was on the kitchen table a few inches from my face. Not feeling very lucky, I nearly jumped out of my chair. I was scared. I scared Lucky. The 97-year-old lady just chuckled. For her it was a moment of small graces.

On the same day I went to a facility to visit a lady who has poor quality of life. She is immobile and mostly none verbal. Since it was a nice day and it was a rare moment that she was awake I wheeled her outside. She seemed to like looking at the trees and hearing the birds sing. Soon we both spotted two cats. Of course I was not thrilled. But for her, you would think she was opening her eyes for the first time. She got a big smile on her face and said, “Aww.” The cats stuck around and entertained us. They wrestled and jumped and climbed a tree. Her bright eyes and constant smile were a small grace for me. The cats were a small grace for her. She needed that. God has a way of bringing people and things into our lives at just the right time. Grace is His specialty!

I visited a new patient a few weeks ago. His life and health had declined rapidly. It was obvious that he could not wait for me to leave his room. He was grouchy and irritable. I have learned not to take those reactions personally. When I made the follow-up visit he seemed to be happy to see me. He asked that I help find out where his medication was. I was able to assist him with that. When I offered to take him outside you would think I was giving him a bag of gold. When he got outdoors he soaked in the sunlight and fresh air. Small graces. He thanked me for coming several times. He said he hopes I come and “preach” again. When I said I would be coming once a month he said he wished I could come once a week. Big surprise. Small graces.

Of course in the Bible we are told, in a way, to offer grace to others. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing (1 Thessalonians. 5:11). It is assumed that grace giving, encouragement, and building up are always happening. We are told to encourage each other daily (Hebrews 3:13). My problem is my good intensions often lack action. I have a neighbor who has been battling cancer. My wife and I have intended to drop off a card for months. The lady has lots of support from family and friends. Yet at a time like this small graces can be a big deal. We have to make encouragement intentional. God can use cats, acorns, and fresh air anytime. He also wants to use His children to extend His grace. We have to be willing and ready.

I close with lyrics from an old Bob Bennett song from which this article is named…

Sometimes they slip by without notice

Sometimes they’re very hard to see

“Other times it’s all so clea

When they’re happening to me

Bright penny on the sidewalk

Can’t buy nothin’ by itself

But when I hold it in my hands

It’s a tiny piece of priceless wealth

These are the small graces

The little moments when the miracles come

These are the small graces

Small graces leading me to the larger ones

Small graces, little glimpses of the kingdom come, from unexpected places, these are the small graces (Words and Music: Bob Bennett, 1996, Bright Ave. Songs). May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you in big and small ways!


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