Click. It wasn’t the click of a phone, but of a mouse button hitting send. At 10:29 on Halloween night, I was finally sending my finished copy of The Divine Progression of Grace to the printer. At that moment, “It is finished!” seemed particularly meaningful.
It all honesty, writing, editing, and publishing this 300 page book is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. Putting my thoughts on paper was hard enough, but the editing process left me googly-eyed. This was on top of all the necessary formatting and attention to seemingly endless detail. During one my many long nights in front of the computer, I began to wonder if I wasn’t doing something wrong. It seems to me that it should have been a lot easier to write a book about grace.
I remember hearing a message once in which the speaker said that receiving God’s grace was like going on a vacation. My wife Debi and I went on an anniversary cruise several weeks ago and, trust me, that experience felt nothing like writing this book. On vacation, I slept long hours and ate as much as I wanted whenever I wanted. With my book, I worked long hours and skipped meals. About the only similarity between the two was that neither afforded me the opportunity to complete any home improvement projects.
Is receiving God’s grace like going on a vacation? The answer is yes and no. The beauty of grace is that those who have received Jesus by faith no longer have to work to gain God’s approval. For a person who has tried really hard to be good, but has done very poorly, receiving God’s unmerited favor can be a huge relief. It almost feels like going on vacation. But that’s not all that grace is about. God’s grace also empowers us to make an impact in our broken world. All of those times when I felt that I couldn’t possibly complete The Divine Progression of Grace, it was grace that kept me going. My strength was running on empty, but God’s grace gave me the power to keep going.
The fact that there is more to life is what makes vacations special. When I first got on the cruise ship, I was just happy to get a break from all of my work. But after six days of doing nothing and eating everything, I was ready to do something that had purpose. Receiving God’s grace may sometimes feel like going on a vacation, but grace is also so much more. Grace gives us the desire to impact human lives for the glory of God and the ability to fulfill that desire. The multifaceted nature of grace is part of what makes it so profound. When we experience grace, we can’t help but want more—and we can’t help but want to do more.
Now that my book is finally at the printer, I could really go for another cruise!