“Oh, God, You are my God.
Early will I seek you;
My soul thirsts for you…” Ps 63: 1
Just recently our Thursday morning bible study group was studying Luke 8:40-56 where Jesus is beckoned by Jarius, a Jewish synagogue leader, to come to his house to heal his twelve year old daughter. On the way, Jesus has an encounter with a woman who has been suffering with an issue of blood for twelve years. She simply touched Jesus’ clothing and was healed.
This story creates a startling contrast. Jesus displays God’s deliberate grace by intentionally healing the little girl and within the context of the same events, display’s God’s unintentional grace by healing the woman without forethought.
I asked my study group to name some examples of deliberate grace. That was very easy, but when I asked them to name some examples of unintentional grace they found it much more difficult to define.
A good example from my own life experience is Mammy. She was my great grandmother, on my Grandfather's side. Mammy lived with Grandma and Grandpa Coggsdale at Webb’s Corner near Franklin, Virginia. I would often stay with Grandma and Grandpa during that time because Mom and Dad were both working. I didn’t mind. It was a joy for me. They lived in a big old clapboard farmhouse and raised chickens, hogs and cows. It was one of those old fashioned houses where the gigantic kitchen was separated from the rest of the house by a porch. Grandma would work in the kitchen almost all day and while she was working I would play in the yard.
That was fifty-six years ago but I witnessed something that would dramatically impact the rest of my life. Everyday I would see Mammy sitting in a rocking chair by the window in her small room. She always wore the black widow’s dresses with white lace collars and high top black lace shoes, the exact image of Whistler’s Mother. I never saw her dressed any other way. She would sit there for hours on end reading her Bible.
I would sometimes go up and tap on her window. She would always smile and wave back then resume reading her Bible. There was never, that I can remember, an effort on her part to make a show of her faithfulness. She was always filled with spontaneous joy.
Mammy left us over fifty years ago to be with the Lord but I hope that she knows now as she rests in the arms of Christ that she touched the life of one seven year old boy with unintentional grace that is still giving to this very day fifty-six years later.