God’s ‘amazing’ grace
I n his book, The Road Less Traveled, Dr. M. Scott Peck contends that to experience the grace of God is a common phenomenon. John Newton referred to it in his hymn as “amazing.” Something amazes us when it is unpredictable within the framework of “natural law” as we understand it.
Years ago in downtown Denver, two young men, Scott and a friend, saw something tiny and insignificant that changed the world. No one else even seemed to notice. It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky. They decided to walk the 10 blocks to an outdoor restaurant. The noonday sun was bright and there wasn’t a hint of a breeze.
They finished lunch and started back to work. Coming out of the restaurant, they both noticed a mother and her young daughter walking out of a card shop toward the street. The mother was holding her daughter by the hand while reading a greeting card.
The mother was so engrossed in the card that she didn’t notice a shuttle bus moving at a fast clip toward them. She and her daughter were one step away from disaster. Scott tried to yell a warning, but no sound came from his lips.
At that very moment a breeze blew the card out the mother’s hand and over her shoulder. She spun around and grabbed at it, nearly knocking down her little daughter. By the time she picked up the card from the ground and turned back around to cross the street, the shuttle bus had whizzed by. Neither the mother nor her little girl ever knew what almost happened.
To this day, Scott and his friend talk about the incident. Two things continue to perplex them: First, where did that one spurt of wind come from to blow the card out of the young mother’s hand? There had not been a whisper of wind during their walk.
Secondly, if Scott had been able to get his words out, the young mother might have looked up at them as they continued to walk into the bus. It was the wind that made her turn back to the card in the one direction that saved her life and that of her daughter.
The passing bus didn’t create the wind. On the contrary, the wind came from the opposite direction. Scott said later, “I have no doubt it was a breath from God protecting them both. But the awesomeness of this miracle is that neither mother or daughter ever knew.”
How often do you suppose it happens that God acts in our lives when the difference between life and death is a very little thing and without our even being aware of it? It is what theologians refer to as the grace of God. Amazing Grace! Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.