By Pastor Mike Gudka      St. Paul United Methodist Church, La Porte City

Grace. Have you ever thought about this word and how God uses it to bring us to Him? So what is Grace? An abbreviation that can be helpful to understand this concept is G.R.A.C.E. or God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. In other words, those who believe in Christ and follow Him have access to the unlimited and eternal riches of God, and they have access to this incredible eternal gift only because Christ paid the price, paid the cost, paid the fine that we deserved for our sin. And Christ did this on the cross. He exchanged His death, for the one that we deserve.
Now there is only one Grace and it flows from the cross. But God’s Grace acts differently, depending upon where we are in our journey with understanding and accepting Christ.
The first step in our journey is when God’s Grace reaches out when we are not even aware that we need a relationship with Christ. This is called Prevenient Grace. The word Prevenient means “to come before.” God loves us so much that He proactively reaches out to us to get our attention. And to do this, God gives us an additional sense, a spiritual sense. This sense allows us to stand before a beautiful sunset and get this inkling that there must be something out there that is bigger than us. It allows us to look at a new born baby with awe and wonder and instinctively know that this wonderful new child is here for a reason.
The wonderful aspect of God’s love is that He never stops trying to get our attention. He puts people in our lives that help us see what it means to live a life dedicated to God. God takes the trials of our life and helps us know that we are not forgotten and there is a way to be set free. God even puts ornery people in our lives that bug us, continue trying to get us to go to church, and they just won’t go away. Yes, God can even use those that bug us to get our attention. All of these events are designed to get our attention and begin to set us on a journey to find the One that is reaching out to us.
God is not one to simply stand by and hope that we hear about Him. Instead, He actively reaches out over and over in any way that He can to get our attention. And He does this because He wants to have an eternal relationship with each and every one of us. How awesome is that!
Now for a dose of reality, can we reject this constant calling from God? Of course we can. God wants us to really love Him. He reaches out to us constantly, but He wants us to respond of our own free-will and fully accept all that He offers. And even if we reject Him over and over and over, God never stops reaching out and trying to establish a relationship with us as long as we are alive in this world.
Next week we are going to look at a way that He powerfully uses the struggles in our lives to bring us home.