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July 15, 2015

astounding grace

Tonight an Asian friend in Europe heard a definition of grace. It went something like this, "Imagine that you parked illegally, and deserved a parking ticket. You had absolutely no money to pay the fee. The lady writing up tickets filled out your ticket, but then proceeded to pay it herself. She showed you completely undeserved kindness—that is grace." A fairly simple definition, right?

I wish I had a picture of our friend's face at that moment, when he heard Biblical grace described for the first time. He was utterly astounded; he had never heard of such a thing. To him, grace carried the idea of balancing something out, not receiving something completely undeserved....even if only a paid parking ticket.

Tonight's Asian brought me bangles. I didn't mind!

Earlier today I spoke to a sweet friend back in Asia. I told her that I had met someone here, from her homeland, that made me think of her.

"I know you're a woman," I quipped, "but this man reminds me of you."

She laughed, "How is that? Does he wear specs?"

"No," I smiled. "He cares about spiritual things. He wants to know God and know truth. Making a difference matters to him."

Then I told her that if God were to give a job in her country to my husband, we would seriously consider moving back there. She tried to convince me otherwise.

"There is so much injustice here, Julie. Women are not safe. And what if you have children? You wouldn't want them to be raised here...." She concluded, "If he has an opportunity to have a job in a better place, really you should take it." 

But this evening, when I saw a simple definition of grace make an Asian almost jump off his chair, I remembered why I left my heart in his homeland—because principles like grace, that are part of my everyday experience, are virtually foreign to most there. Theirs is a land with many spiritually-minded people, and a land where a little truth goes a long way.

We know that astounding grace, and for us, the question is—does it make us leap out of our chairs? Would we go a long way, for a little truth?

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