One of the underpinnings of Christian belief is the concept of grace — that God gives you His gifts without making you earn them. I understood grace as an idea, but it was not until things took a serious turn for the worse recently that I started noticing and appreciating what He does for us in little ways that are easy to overlook. Some of these things I ask for, and most of them I remember to thank Him for, but it doesn’t matter – He provides them all the same. I’m not talking about abstract things like eternal life; I mean that I get all kinds of useful gifts every day. Ever have to go without a shower because you couldn’t pay your gas bill? I have. Now I thank Him every time I turn the handle and hot water comes out. I had a radiator hose blow when I was driving on the freeway recently. I was at least 2 miles from home, and yet I was able to drive home safely without overheating. Now *that* is a practical gift!
The really amazing part of this deal is that you don’t have to earn it. Every day of my life I fall short of what I should do and be; if I was a professional Christian, I would have been fired long ago. Yet God continues to bless me every single day without fail. It doesn’t matter if I have saved a busload of orphans from fiery death, or if I kicked a kitten, or just forgot to do the dishes again. I turn the handle, and the hot clean water comes out. I try to remember to be thankful for everything, but it doesn’t matter if I forget something — it just keeps coming. Grace is like that.