This post starts with two diamond stories. The first is when Tom proposed to me and gave me a beautiful solitaire. After we picked out my wedding band, I had to turn my ring over to the jewelers to solder the two pieces together. To be romantically silly, Tom bought me a plastic ring to wear from one of those gumball machines. I think it cost a quarter. I wore it with pride, despite its cheap construction, because it still indicated my choice to marry Tom. We ended up having some fun using it during our wedding rehearsal, along with a gigantic “diamond ring” keychain I previously acquired.
The second story has to do with the Hope Diamond. A 45.52 carat spectacular blue stone, the Hope Diamond made a one-day stop in 1956 at a jewelry store in Virginia where I later (45 years later) worked for a summer. The sales girls working there in 1956 had the pleasure of getting their pictures taken while wearing the Hope Diamond necklace. Those photos, on display in the store, were intriguing to me when I looked at them during slow times. There’s something remarkable about looking at, holding or wearing something so valuable. It’s barely even comparable, but while employed at the jewelers, I had my own remarkable moment when I tried on a $25,000 diamond bracelet. I remember commenting, “I have a car on my wrist!” A week or so later my hand was briefly graced by a $50,000 diamond solitaire ring. It was huge. Amazing.
Would you ever choose the dime store ring over the Hope Diamond? One is cheap plastic and the other is the rarest of stones. Yet sometimes I reject God’s grace in favor of worthless replacements.
God lavished out – recklessly poured out – his love for me. His goodness and gifts for me. His Son for me.
I do not deserve this. I did not ask for, nor could I possibly earn this.
It’s given regardless. And that’s grace.
But I choose lesser things. I’d rather work harder to attempt to prove that I deserve his love. I try to follow a list of dos and don’ts thinking that will be a sufficient equivalent. I don’t trust God’s love for me or that he would choose something for my good. I’d rather slum it with idols of my own making. As if the gumball ring is just as valuable as the Hope Diamond.
Yet my God waits. He waits for me to discard my worthless trinkets and accept his most valuable treasure. The Prodigal God waits patiently for his lost child to return home. He runs to embrace me and welcomes me back with a celebration. And that’s grace!
For the past several months, I keep running into discussions on grace. In mid-October, I discovered chatting at the sky, where Emily Freeman spent the whole month on 31 Days of Grace. In an early fall series, Kevin Larson preached on God is Gracious at Karis Church. Visiting with friends, the topic of grace repeatedly arises. In December, I picked up a copy of David Jeremiah’s book, Captured by Grace. I haven’t read it yet, but look forward to it.
Where have you run across God’s grace lately? How have you seen his grace at work in your life?