Grace in Tight Places
As my family and I traveled to attend my dad’s funeral, I dealt with an unpleasant reminder — grief can feel restrictive. Losses of any kind can minimize our blessings in the present and limit our view of the future. The echo of this feeling followed me through my experiences this week. But the voice of truth told me something different.
I sat in crowded rooms with fellow mourners, full airport shuttles with fellow travelers, and a narrow section of an airplane where I sat near another devastated soul. And yet, in the midst of being in tight places, I am encouraged by a liberating truth – God’s grace can enter into the tightest of life’s spaces.
Although my circumstances were dismal and my longings were deep, grace peeked through the broken cracks of this “daddy’s girl’s” heart. It can be hard to see grace in painful moments. It is much easier to focus on what failed. But in the light of God’s grace, we learn that He never does.
My time spent in crowded rooms offered encouragement to my soul. I felt God’s faithfulness through the kindness and prayers of our church family, relatives, friends and neighbors. I saw His faithfulness as my siblings and I buried our dad beside our mom. It was a hope fulfilled for my dad and a comforting reminder to our family that both of our parents are with the Lord and with each other.
My time spent on a full shuttle reminded me of the need to breathe. I don’t know the reasons for each of my fellow travelers’ trek; but it was easy to see there was little space between us. Our early morning flight brought us to the shuttle before daylight. The air of grogginess and the need to breathe collided. There was one stop and a mass exit. Fresh air never felt so good.
My time on the plane was perhaps the tightest place of all. The man who sat directly behind me had a lack of sleep and a load of despair. The night before he’d received news that his brother had been killed. His trip to face a horrible truth was an exhaustive burden. The man sobbed and prayed the entire trip. Between my short naps I prayed for him too.
By the time the flight ended, I wondered what comforting words I could offer. Each time I made eye-contact with him I wanted to say, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” Each time he was on the phone. I decided I could hang around (and apparently eavesdrop) or I could politely give him some space. I chose the latter and I trusted my prayers would reach his heart in ways my intrusion never could.
Yes, this has been quite a week for me. But I’ve seen quite a display of God’s grace. If you are in a tight place now, here’s some good news: there’s encouragement from others, room to breathe, and the power of prayer by the grace of God. And in case either of us forgets that truth, I’m praying we’ll remember His love. It always brings hope to the heart and joy to the soul.
“ In my distress [when seemingly closed in] I called upon the Lord and cried to my God; He heard my voice out of His temple (heavenly dwelling place), and my cry came before Him, into His [very] ears.” – Psalm 18:6 AMP