What is grace?
Webster provides a mercifully brief definition: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification. Succinct, practical and useful, this definition covers the three main qualities of grace that bear on our purposes here: 1) It comes from God; 2) It is intended for our regeneration or rebirth; and 3) It is unmerited, undeserved. Unmerited and undeserved by us, I might add; Jesus paid for it by His suffering and death on the cross.
In many ways, God’s grace is difficult to distinguish from His love, mercy, forgiveness and compassion; in fact, one may argue that His grace is a composite of these qualities and others like them. That this is consistent within Webster’s framework of “divine assistance” allows us to finally bring some clarity to the conversation, and that alone far outweighs concerns over complicated theological definitions.
It is not enough, having prayed, to sit around waiting for God’s response as you would patiently seat yourself waiting for a bus to arrive. It’s important to take some initiative to formulate your own plan for spreading love, compassion and understanding around in the best way you know how. God wants us to make a start from wherever it is we presently find ourselves. Though not fully confident we know best what is needed or how to proceed, we may yet begin, with an inner attitude of humility and attention, to spread kindness along the way, always alert to perceive any course adjustments God may provide.
By taking tentative, mindful and yet definite action, we are demonstrating to God our faith and confidence that He will step in and guide us. God wants us to rely upon Him to show us the way. By starting without Him, so to speak, we are demonstrating, in a powerful and unmistakable way, our faith in Him to do just that.