“To each one of us grace has been given.” – Ephesians 4:7
Sometimes I have these flashbacks, like ghosts from the past, about stupid things I have done in my life, including things I should have done but didn’t. Regrets! We all have them I assume, but I’ve got some real doozies. “Stop reminding me!” I sometimes yell back at the ghosts in my head. “I know what I did, and I’ve regretted it ever since.” In some cases I have even been reconciled with those I have harmed or disappointed, and I have certainly received forgiveness from God. True, yet the flashbacks appear anyway.
Some would say those flashbacks are nothing but the Devil playing with my head, trying to convince me I’m not good enough, a bad person, a failure. And for a while I even buy into it. But then my more rational memory takes me a little deeper into those ghost stories, beyond the misdeeds themselves, to the many times I was saved from what could have been serious consequences from those misdeeds – harm to myself or others, fights, broken relationships, traffic tickets, financial problems, or worse. Not that I have gotten by with everything I ever did wrong, but I certainly skated by more times than I deserve, for which such favor can only be attributed to God’s grace.
Recently, an old friend posted a quote on social media, a prayer actually, that is so profound I have it placed visibly on my desk to remind me of all the graces I have received through the years. “God has protected me more times than I can count,” it says, “So I can only imagine the times I’ve been rescued that I don’t even know about. Thank you. God. for always being there, even when I don’t know it. Amen!”
Sometimes when I dig even deeper into those flashbacks I discover something else; that not only have I been rescued by God’s grace, but in many cases God has redeemed those misdeeds through the valuable, albeit painful lessons I have learned, lessons that have formed me into a better husband, a better father, grandfather, neighbor, friend, and citizen, a more kind and understanding human being.
“To each one of us grace has been given,” sometimes even through those ghosts that haunt us from the past; for God can transform anything – and anyone – into good. So, thank you God for your amazing grace, even when we are not aware of it. Amen!