Many of us will say grace before a Thanksgiving meal this year. Perhaps as lovely as saying grace is seeing grace. Common grace is before our eyes every day of the year, every moment of the day.
GooseWe see it on the table in the sweet potatoes, buttered rolls, green beans, corn, fruit salad and pumpkin pie. They sit there, enticing and inviting, because the Hand of Heaven caused the sun to shine and the rain to fall and the crops to grow.
Common grace parades before us with each changing season as well. The frost of fall gives way to the glistening snow of winter, which will yield to a thousand shades of green in spring, which will fan out into the long, warm rays of summer. We grow weary near the end of each season, tired of the familiar, ready for something new. So we anticipate the next season, never doubting that it will arrive with the usual beauty, splash, charm and change.
You need only look out a window to appreciate common grace in the creatures. Take the black-capped chickadee with his round body, black cap and white cheeks. He is no bigger than a plum and weighs about the same as four pennies. A plum would freeze solid within minutes when the temperature dips to zero. Not the chickadee. He was designed with thousands of downy appendages called afterfeathers. These afterfeathers, tucked beneath his outerfeathers, form myriads of air pockets that trap warm, dry air, protecting him from the bitter cold and keeping him quite alive. Common grace is even in the details.
In the creative realm, common grace can be enjoyed in the painter’s masterpiece, a garden bouquet, the strands of Bach and Vivaldi, or the voice of Adele. It can be seen in the beauty of a spectacular football interception or a child’s dance recital.
The Psalmist said, “The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works.” God’s common grace showers everyone, just as the rain falls on the just and the unjust.
We experience the goodness of common grace every time we pass through the doors of a doctor’s office or a hospital. God’s gift of intellect to every man, some of whom have unlocked the mysteries of physics, science and medicine, is a blessing to us all.
We reap the benefits of common grace in the intellectual realm every time we throw in a load of laundry, send a text, flip on a light switch, pick up a prescription, read a newspaper online, run hot water in the kitchen sink, start a car, buy gasoline, swipe a credit card, Skype with family far away, use GPS and step on a plane.
Why such magnificent, marvelous, wonderful goodness across the board?
Perhaps so that we might take a moment to humbly bow and simply say thanks.