Riding the waves of God’s grace

Chuck Tabor - Contributing columnist

Over the past several weeks, my bride and I have had the privilege of hosting our oldest granddaughter. She seems to love spending a good portion of her summer in Florida.

This coming weekend, we are escorting her back to Ohio, where on this coming Monday, she begins her next year in school.

During her time with us, we have done many things, including celebrating her 13th birthday. Watch out world, she is now a teenager!

We discovered that she had previously celebrated her special day before coming down to Florida, but we celebrated anyway by taking her parasailing in the Gulf of Mexico! She has also had the privilege of going with her Grandpa (that’s me!) on weekly Dunkin’ Donut golf cart rides, where we each week take a journey to one of the several Dunkin’ Donuts establishments which are reachable in a golf cart! And, of course, we must sample the treasures we find there!

As well, she has spent a lot of time drawing – she is a wonderful artist, and designing and making by hand greeting cards for all occasions. What a creative young lady she is becoming!

This past weekend, she and her Grandma visited an organic farm where she not only saw what they were growing, but also was able to get up close with several animals, including chickens, cows, and … alpacas!

She also took her “old” grandparents on an old-fashioned, red-checkered-tablecloth picnic, complete with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and watermelon, apples, and bananas!

But aside from the parasailing adventure on her birthday, which was obviously a huge highlight of her summer, one of the most enjoyable outings we took with her was to the Atlantic Ocean for a fantastic afternoon of enjoying riding waves and building sand castles!

It was not the first time we have been to the ocean, but it was the most enjoyable. From the moment we hit the beach, the waves were rolling in one after the other.

Almost no sooner had Grandpa ventured into the water that a rather mediocre-sized wave hit him (that’s me!) broadside and capsized him full bore into the rushing torrent! And because of the constant barrage of oncoming waves, getting a foothold and standing up again was a difficult venture, even for a man as “young” as I!

But get up I did, and the rest of the afternoon, we had a great time playing in the surf and riding the waves. We even built a sand castle with a moat completely around it!

That lasted for about five minutes – when one of those “gigantic” 2-foot waves filled the moat, flooded the castle, and washed it away in one swipe!

Recalling the continuous onslaught of those waves that afternoon has brought to mind a spiritual principle. While we were out in the ocean, it did not matter where we stood in the water, we were constantly being barraged by “wave upon wave.”

No sooner would I get through one wave than I had to prepare for the next one to hit. Sometimes I was more successful than others.

But the waves kept coming.

In a very real sense, that is what the grace of God is like.

In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, we read that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us… full of grace and truth” (John 1:14), and a couple of verses later, we read “For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” (1:16).

That last phrase, “grace upon grace”, is the one that reminds me of the ocean waves. Robert Morgan comments that “out of the fullness of His own infinite goodness, God gives us …grace upon grace.”

The endless succession of waves, one after another, constantly colliding with and overcoming the previous one which is quietly receding, is a great picture of the way God’s grace works in our lives.

He is in the constant process of showing us His hand of mercy and protection on the one hand, while demonstrating his blessing and goodness on the other.

The challenge for you and for me this week is to fully grasp the impact of the “waves” of God’s grace in our lives each day.

As you arise out of bed tomorrow morning, can you see the grace of God in allowing you to sleep soundly (or even not-so-soundly) through the night? Will you thank Him for His grace?

As you move to the coffee machine or the refrigerator, are you able to see the next wave of His grace in providing food to eat? As you dress for work, or whatever your next activity for the day may be, can you thank God for the strength He gives to accomplish the task He has provided for you to fulfill?

What about going to the doctor? Can you thank Him for that, no matter what the report may be? No matter what your activity or infirmity may be are you able to thank God for His grace in seeing you through?

Are you able to praise God, with David, saying, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:6)?

I don’t know about you, but I want the rest of my life to be more than just standing in the surf.

I want to ride with joy and confidence the waves of God’s amazing grace!

God bless …

Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at [email protected]


Chuck Tabor

Contributing columnist