Romans 11:5-6 – So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. (NIV)
A family reunion in Georgia this past July afforded us the opportunity to explore some of the southern United States. We figured since we were going that far, at that expense, we might as well make the most of it, rather than just go for a three-day jaunt.
My husband researches every place he plans to explore, so that when we get there, we know our way around. We find the finest in often "out-of-the-way" eateries, second-hand bookstores, and things unique and special to each town or city we visit.
So after the reunion, we trekked off to Tennessee to take tea with a relative and check out the Chattannooga Choo Choo, and went on to the Carolinas, Memphis, and Louisiana. It was a wonderful holiday indeed.
Yes, it was through the grace of God that we travelled over three thousand miles with nothing more onerous than needing an oil change.
Shortly after we came home, Hurricane Katrina hit some of those southern states where we'd been. As we watched and listened to the horror the hurricane racked up, we wondered if the quaint old wooden bookstore got flooded, and especially if the owner and his cat were safe. We wondered if the little couple from Vietnam survived and if they would ever be able to be back in business. What of all the people whose lives touched ours throughout the trip, especially those in New Orleans? It is most likely that someone we'd met had lost loved ones to the horror that ravaged the city.
We kept in touch with relatives through e-mail. We donated to the cause, and at Christmas, that's where our gifts would be.
Sometimes, God gives us grace through adversity. We face troubles, yet are able to see His grace. That was evident in some of the stories that came out following the hurricane.
Had we not made that trip and connected in so many ways, we likely wouldn't have experienced the same degree of empathy that we now have. Katrina wouldn't have given us quite the personal face for the disaster. Sometimes we are better able to see and appreciate the troubles of others because we've been granted His grace.
Prayer: Our loving Father, we thank You for Your grace and goodness in all of life's situations. We thank You for the blessings You bestow upon us and for the ways in which You choose to open our eyes to the needs of others. Through Christ our Lord we pray, and give thanks for each day. Amen.