As I was sitting in line at Starbucks yesterday, I met God. Actually, He met me. Not for a conversation over coffee, but to encourage my spirit in a much-needed way.
The line was long. Crazy long. And all of us hungry and un-caffeinated people were about to lose our faith and patience. When I finally inched into a position where I could see the front of the line, a black truck caught my eye. It was waiting patiently for a spot in line, but no one was willing to let him in. Every driver looked away as if not to notice the truck.
Frankly, I didn’t want to let him in either. I was dehydrated and frustrated like a woman crawling across the Sahara. At least it felt that way. But then Holy Spirit gave a tug … or perhaps it was a hug. He whispered, “Let him in.”
With a half-hearted smile, I reluctantly waved my hand, instructing him to go ahead and take my place. This was no saintly action. I was only begrudgingly obedient, and I was thinking he better not take too long.
But then grace showed up.
As I was preparing to exchange my entire life savings for a tall flat white, the barista kindly relayed that the truck in front of me had paid for my drink.
I was humbled.
I didn’t deserve it. I was barely done pouting. But God used this kind man to remind me of this—life needs to be interrupted. And I need to be open to it with a willing and patient spirit.
Giving grace can be work and it requires effort. Grace isn’t passive. It’s a conscious action to reflect an attitude of servanthood, to see others and their needs as more important than your own.
Getting frustrated at others is a reflection of pride. You see, if I really understood my own inadequacies, I would be quicker to forgive and slower to become irritated. And I wouldn’t be so easily offended.
Grace allows for interruption and inconvenience.
To truly reflect the heart of Christ, we have to learn to put down our agendas and calendars and focus on others. Often the needs of others aren’t earned, deserved or planned. It’s difficult at times, but it grows, tenderizes and softens us.
It’s when I learn to die that I truly find life. And when I give myself away, I find that the all-sustaining and satisfying riches of God’s provision is enough.
Allowing that truck to cut in line took two extra minutes. That’s it. It was such a small sacrifice. That free coffee was just a little reminder that when we pour out, God will pay us back in greater ways than we could possibly imagine.
Coffee is my typical afternoon pick-me-up. But yesterday I received something better—grace.