I was helping our younger son study for a science quiz. The material covered the basics of plants and photosynthesis. We talked about how plants give us the oxygen we need to breathe in and out all day every day. Josh explained his understanding to me by saying something like, we don’t make oxygen, Mom, it’s just there.

It’s just there. You and I have needed oxygen since the moment we entered this world. Absolutely everything depends on it. Without it, we cannot be alive. On average, a person takes 8.5 million breaths per year. Josh is almost nine years old which means he had taken approximately 76 million breaths before he realized he had a need for oxygen or from where it came.

God’s grace is like that, too. It is present and abundant before we recognize it. Grace has filled our lives like oxygen has filled our lungs. We can’t create it and we can’t stop it. God’s grace surrounds us and calls to us before we have any idea that it is available or that we need it.

About eight years ago, our family was in a serious car accident. The other driver was uninsured, so it was our insurance that covered medical expenses. We learned a lot about insurance during that season of our life. One of the things we had done years earlier was purchase higher-than-average coverage for a single family with modest assets. Because we had done that, we had what we needed for the months of recovery ahead of us.

I didn’t think much about insurance before our accident. I paid the bill when it came and kept the little proof of coverage card in my vehicle. But then something happened and I needed it. Really, really needed it. And it was already there. Waiting for me to recognize my need. Ready to be put to use so that what was broken could be put back together.

Friends, we don’t have to go looking for God’s grace. From wherever we find ourselves today, God’s grace is ours and it is plentiful. At our first recognition of needing it, it is already working. It will cover the mistakes. It will cover the shame. It will cover the fear. It will cover the doubt.

I encourage you to sometime this week take an inventory of your circumstances. Recognize the grace that is present and turn that recognition into thanksgiving and praise. And if you are in a place where you desperately need an outpouring of His grace today, look at a tree. Breathe in and breathe out the oxygen it provides. Trust that in the same way that tree offers what you need to breathe, so does God’s grace offer you what you need to thrive. It’s already there. Waiting for you. Peace.