What do we understand by the simple word ‘grace’? Does it simply mean mercy - or, more precisely, the Lord’s mercy? A dictionary definition of grace is the unmerited and free favour or blessing of God.
Let us put it this way: we have probably all, at some point in life, felt that we were being given more than we merited or deserved. We feel that a lucky star is shining on us, that God is smiling down on us. We generally feel this way when things are going as we want them to, according to our plans and wishes.
But what happens when things don’t go as planned? Has God forgotten to shower his grace on us? Is he punishing us? Is he testing our faith in him? Many negative thoughts come to mind when things don’t go our way. Although we don’t really know what’s best for us, we still expect things to instantly work in our favour. When that’s not the case, we become disappointed and lose heart and the thought that we are being made to pay the price for our karmas depresses us. Little do we realize that this period in which we may be feeling low and unloved is, in fact, the time when we are truly being looked after.
For example, when a child is hale and hearty, he is busy with his games and enjoys himself and may not have the chance to notice how much his mother cares for him. The mother has no reason to keep running after the child or to show her concern. But when he falls ill, when he is in pain and is suffering, the mother is constantly by his side. She makes sure that he is well fed, that he takes his medicine on time and gets sufficient rest. Now the child might be too ill to actually notice that the mother is doing everything she can to lessen his pain and suffering. All the child may notice is that he is being made to take bitter medicine. Nevertheless that very bitter dose of medicine is going to help him recover.
In the same way, when we are going through rough phases in our life, alongside the pain we may come to feel that God is in fact taking more care of us than ever. We may not be able to see it, but his care is undoubtedly there - the Lord is by our side looking after the smallest of things for us and working for our long-term, spiritual well-being. If this is not grace, what is? We have come into this creation where nothing is permanent and nothing is perfect. So how do we expect our life to be perfect, how do we expect to always be happy? The sun cannot shine day and night. It has to set. Night has to fall, a new day will come and the sun will shine again.
We as humans cannot see the big picture, but the Lord can. He knows exactly what we need.
Why do we find it so hard to trust the Lord? We say that he is all knowing and if that really is the case then doesn’t he know what’s truly beneficial for us? Or do we think we know better? If so, would we still be here, in this creation, stuck in the cycle of transmigration? Let’s trust the Lord and show some gratitude by accepting his decisions and his will happily. His grace is always with us - more so in our difficult times, even though we may fail to see it. Now it’s our turn to behave gracefully and place our trust in him.
Can we do it? We can at least sincerely try. Isn’t it always said that effort and grace go hand in hand? Let us put in some more effort and invoke his further outpouring of grace. Eventually grace is the only thing, the one thing, that will get us through this life, taking us beyond the cycle of birth and death, and back to our true home.