Today I read excellent thoughts on grace and excellence at two blogs I often read. First, Jeanne's comments at The Master's Artist (the April 7 post) talks about being a Welch's grape juice Christian or a fine wine Christian -- and how that is reflected in our writing. I confess that too often I'm a grape juice (or maybe grape soda) Christian. And yet I want to be more. But I know that when I ask God to make me more, he does that. But the process of becoming more is often hard and painful. Jeanne says it better than I do, but her comments reminded me of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's costly grace vs. cheap grace. The grace is always there (Romans 6), but if we want to truly reap the benefits of life in Christ, we must let grace produce a change in us. I'm not saying we can earn grace. There is nothing we can do that could possibly make us deserving of God's grace and forgiveness. But how can we go on living the same when we're recipients of that wonderful grace? And yet, too often we -- I -- do. The other excellent discussion along these lines is at Mick Silva's blog, My Writer's Group. Read the two posts together and you'll have your devotion for the day.
So my question now is, How can we illustrate the fullness of God's grace for our readers in fresh and original ways? I'm not talking about thinly disguised sermons. God reveals himself in amazing ways all around us, and often in the ways we least expect. So why should we try to write God in a box?
I've been working on a short story -- it's a character study, really, of characters in my novel, set earlier in their lives. But I wrote it from the viewpoint of a 5-year-old boy who's had a bad day and been disciplined. At the end of the day he feels he doesn't deserve the special treat they had for dessert. But his father, who isn't a godly man at the time, understands that we all have days when we don't measure up. And special treats still have their place on those days. So the little boy gets his dessert. When the boy grows up, he remembers this little lesson in grace. I'm not sure, but I think a story like that is something we can all relate to and if I can do it well enough, it won't beat people over the head, but will still show a glimpse of God's truth.