I often take our small dog for a walk. Because I live on a busy road with no fence he is always on a leash. Bo (the dog’s name) has free will to roam wherever he wants to, but within the limits of the leash. Without the leash he could wander far away from me, his master, or get into danger. He could even chase other animals much bigger than him. There is a spiritual analogy between free will and the leash. When I walk the dog I think of God’s grace.
God created each person with free will, but there is also the factor of grace. Grace keeps us from wandering away from our Master, the Lord God. It also protects us from harm or danger. If we get out of fellowship with God, go in some direction that is not good for us, or face some potentially tragic situation, God gives a gentle nudge on his “leash of grace” and pulls us back.
The Christian life is not based on luck or chance. We don’t know how many times God’s grace has intervened on our behalf to spare us from being the victim of a crime, getting a contagious illness, or having a fatal accident, many times without even being aware of it, all due to God’s grace of timing or protection.
There might be some reading this, however, who have experienced a horrible calamity, and you have a difficult time accepting God’s grace. For you I do not have an answer except to use the Apostle Paul for an example. He had a physical affliction and asked God three times to heal him, but he was not healed. Instead, Paul heard God say, “My grace is sufficient for you” (II Corinthians 12:9).
There are times when circumstances or relationships don’t end up well. In fact, they might go from bad to worse. In these cases, according to Romans 8:28-29, “all things work together for good” so that Christians might be “conformed to the image of God’s Son.” The good is that God can use any circumstance to build Godly character. This is all by grace.
Some situations, however, have a very positive outcome. I am writing this soon after the news story about the missionaries taken captive in Haiti, in November of 2021. They were able to make a daring and courageous escape with guards close by and in gang territory. By God’s grace of timing and protection they made it to safety.
I recently had a physical affliction for several weeks that could have kept me awake at night. I prayed that by God’s grace I would sleep well every night. My prayer was answered. How about you? What situation can you recall when God demonstrated his grace in a very specific way? Are there times when God has gently pulled you back from wandering away from Him, or kept you from harm?