Grace Immersion

Day 20

In the Grip of Grace

Read Romans 8:28–39

When I lived in San Diego my baseball hero was Tony Gywnn, so I could not believe it when he hit a foul ball directly into the stands exactly to the spot where my wife and I were sitting during a Padres game in the mid-1980s.

It was like the best gift ever, dropping out of the sky right into my hands. I didn’t have to move, or even stretch — it came straight to me! I had literally dreamed of this moment, and now it was coming true!

I can remember every nanosecond of what happened next as if it is in slow-motion replay:

I see the bright blue Southern California sky. Here comes the white baseball, arcing right toward me in super-slo-mo. There’s my hand, poised to catch it. Now into my field of vision enter… sixteen other hands, jostling mine as MY TONY GWYNN BALL comes soaring into the seats.

For one brief instant my fingertips graze the leather surface of my prize…

…then it bounces like a pinball off bumpers as everyone elbows for the elusive ball! It drops out of sight! I am dismayed as I imagine it skittering through the section! I scream in slow-mo, “NOOOOO!” Then… joy! I see it lodged firmly in the space between the hard plastic seat bottom and seat back of my wife’s chair!!

I yell to her: “SIT DOOOOWN!!!!” And she does, plopping down on the ball, like a hen guarding her precious egg for her rooster-man. I begin to crow proudly in victory —

Until I freeze as I watch a foxy invader literally pluck the ball out from underneath my wife’s…seat! Yes, unbelievably, a hand snakes down the seat back, reaches under her, and pops out that egg! She yells in outrage (OK, it honestly did sound a little like a chicken clucking in protest, just to complete the metaphor). The interloper has the ball and is high-fiving his seatmates.

For the rest of the game there was probably visible heat distortion above my head as I angrily contemplated how close I came to possessing a Tony Gwynn ball! Finally my wife (who had far more reason to be offended than I) said, “Cheer up, hon, you’ll find a way to use this as an illustration!”

And I did! Here it comes:

Too often I think of myself hanging on to salvation like I tried to catch that slippery fly ball: I’ve got it one instant, but the next I could lose it! A variety of factors are always jostling me, robbing me, making it hard to be confident that I have what I seek.

But really, we are the ball, and the hand is God’s! And we’re firmly in God’s grip, by His grace. He will never drop us. He will never let us go. He will never release his grasp.

I was thinking about this one day when I was walking along our local railroad tracks with my youngest son. The train tracks run right in front of a beachside amusement park and David was about three years old, an age when walking on the rails pretending to be a choo-choo is a better attraction than nearly anything inside the park.

Of course I knew he would stumble and fall (at that age they stumble and fall walking across a carpeted room), so I had his hand firmly in my grasp. Note: I did not just make sure he was holding my hand. I was holding his. There’s a difference. His grip could slip; mine was firm. Because I love him.

Grace means more than your salvation. Grace means your Heavenly Father knows you will stumble, and knows your grip will slip… but He has you in His grasp. Because He loves you.

From predestination to calling to justification to glorification, we are in His grasp the whole way. So nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39). That’s “the grip of grace.” Still you may wonder, “If I am so secure, what motivates me to change and grow?” We’ll look at that tomorrow.

How does it make you feel to know you are in the grip of grace?

When is it hardest to believe this is true?

What is your biggest question about what is taught in today’s meditation?

Today pray through the Scripture reading and make it into a prayer of thanks to God! Imagine Him holding your hand firmly and lovingly.