I was standing in line at Aldi last week unloading groceries onto the checkout belt. I noticed a woman get in line behind me with her arms full of items. The cashier had not yet begun to scan my groceries, so I encouraged her to go in front of me.
Her response caught me off guard. Her face hardened and her eyes narrowed a bit. She stared right at me and then looked away. I was puzzled and thought she didn’t understand what I was telling her. So I tried again. You are welcome to go around me, I told her. She rolled her eyes and moved her head side to side in slow defiance.
Guys, I’m slow. And I tell people to go around me all the time when I’m unloading a cart of food for growing boys. I’ve never had someone refuse to do so. So I tried teasing her a little bit as I continued to take out frozen waffles, bananas, and granola bars. With a smile I asked her, you’re not going to do it? At that, she spoke firmly to me. I’m not, she said. The lady in the other aisle looked at me sympathetically. So I dropped it and let the cashier go ahead with my things.
As I bagged up my items, I watched her pay for her groceries and leave. I thought about asking if I’d offended her somehow, but something in my spirit told me to leave it alone. She never spoke to anyone around her. She never smiled. Her face never softened. Then she got on her bike and rode away.
I’ve thought about her for days. What makes someone refuse an act of kindness? Why would someone insist on carrying something when they’ve been offered the option of putting it down? Why would someone stand alone when people around them were offering friendship and support?
Then I realized that sometimes I adopt a similar posture with God. He offers grace so that I can hear Him and feel Him. He offers grace so that I can release my burdens and my troubles. He offers grace so that I can connect with Him, rely on Him, and have confidence that we walk together and I am never, ever alone.
But sometimes instead of receiving that grace from Him, I stand is stubborn solitude. I’ll figure it out myself, thank you. I’ll have it my way, thank you. I’ll manage without any help from You or anyone else, thank you very much. And I walk through my day lonely and broken… hurting and scared… when I don’t need to be experiencing any of those things.
Friends, God’s grace is abundant. It is free. It is ever-present. But we must receive the grace we need. We must, through time with Him and through spiritual disciplines, meet Him and take into our lives what He offers us. We must study Him, talk to Him, praise Him, and be with Him in order to experience the growth and healing His grace can provide. How will you be a receiver of His grace today? Peace.