I have been thinking about letting go, and the grace that God gives us to let things go into His care. Speaking to a men’s group last weekend I talked about how God helps us do that, and then this week I spoke twice to pre-school parents about their children being in our care here at MECE. Thinking about these things made me think of the times that I have had to let go of my boys.
The first time I had to let go of our oldest was when he was just a week or two old. We had to let him go for surgery, and I remember this empty feeling of seeing him wheeled down the hallway away from us. It was hard. Then we had to let both our boys go to preschool. Then we had to let them go in our car for their first solo drive to Youth Group. Then it was college. There are these milestones, I suppose, but they are also times in our lives when we have to let go. And it’s not just kids. The beginning of this school year has elicited these particular memories for me.
Where does solace come in these times? From where does our hope come (as the Psalmist put it)? Well, our hope comes from the Lord, but more specifically in a wonderful thought about God. If you understand God as mean and vindictive, or distant (never mind non-existent), then you can’t trust those most precious to you to Him. With that image of God, we understand Him to be out to get them. If, on the other hand, we understand God to be good, then we can trust our loved ones to Him. We can trust their health, their wellbeing, to that Good Father.
Wesleyan theology suggests that God’s goodness, His grace, extends to all of us, whether we are aware of it or not. God’s grace is around us whether we know God, or even if we do, when we are not aware that we need it. This is called “Prevenient Grace” in Methodist circles. And it is a most comforting thought.
Before you drove out this morning, God’s grace was in front of you. Sometimes we need a little finesse, I mean grace, and sometimes we need a lot. (You have to be a certain age to catch that reference). Those times when we need a lot, when we find ourselves dependent on God’s grace and mercy, we become truly grateful for it. Every time I have had to let go of my children, a project, job, or whatever, I have been mindful that God’s grace is out ahead of them, out ahead of me, caring for them, caring for me, in ways that exceed my own capacity to do, or even imagine.
Prevenient Grace, how sweet the sound! I hope you will bask in it. And allow it to point to the many other graces that God makes available to us.
May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “He has scattered abroad His gifts to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” 2 Corinthians 9:8,9