Grace Encounters

It was by “accident,” really, that I even went there. I had not planned on going there. But every other pool seemed to be closed. Not this one. This one was open when I needed it to be. And NOW was the time that I needed a pool … any pool … to be open! For I was just starting to feel “as sick as can be” from some type of virus that seemed to be coming on “strong”. I felt I could beat it with some fresh invigorating exercise.

The pool was not a normal “lap” pool as such, and it was a family swim, to be sure. Plus it was quite a small pool! Any length that I would get in would have to be done by swimming the circumference of the pool (i.e. around it), and not by swimming normal laps. Due to the interspersed nature of the people, it was something I could do, and something I could do easier than trying to swim in the middle of it. Such would have to be the case. One turn around the pool … and then two … and then … on the third time around, there was a woman there with her baby. She seemed to say something as I swam past her … “Sorry if I’m in your way” … or something like that (hard to hear when you are half under water).

Something inside of me said, “Listen to her” but I kept swimming, anyway. As I kept swimming, going in “circles” around the rather small pool, I continually had to turn to the left as I went along. Suddenly, “ouch!!!” I bumped my toe against the side of the pool! Soon, I would be nearing that part of the pool where the woman was with her baby. Because my foot was now sore, I was “forced,” as it were, due to the pain, to stop swimming for a short interval. “It’s a good time to say hello and to clear up any misunderstanding that might have been caused by your indifference to her on the previous time around”, a thought seemed to now come to me. So I said hello. After asking her how old her baby was, she responded, “My daughter has cerebral palsy, that’s why she still looks like a baby. She’s actually a year and a half.”

At that point, I had peace about asking her if I could pray for her baby. She said that would be okay. The Lord seemed to be saying, “Go right ahead”, so I laid my hand on her daughter’s head and began to lift her up to God. I don’t even know if her mother prayed along or not, because my eyes were shut, but I do know that the Lord gave me great peace to pray for her daughter. Afterwards, I told her what church I went to. It turns out that she had attended that church several years ago on one occasion, having been invited there by a friend. However, she was not a regular churchgoer. I was also able to recommend another (more contemporary) church that she might want to consider. But of course, I did not “slam” her with the gospel because that was not what God was doing. God was simply giving grace to say, “Consider Christ” and “God cares for you.”

That is what some of the encounters are like that we have from day to day. They are simply “grace encounters”. Grace encounters I believe are needed in large doses in our fractured and broken world. Grace speaks love and healing and mercy to those around us. It speaks of something more than the world can give. It speaks of hope and eternity and something beyond the normal. It speaks of restoration and reconciliation. It speaks of … the God that we serve. This woman may not make a decision for Christ today, that’s true. But hopefully, as the grace encounters continue, through the various people that the Lord will bring along her path, she will come to the conclusion that she really does need Christ as her Lord and Savior — the Christ who died for her, so that she might live an abundant life as the child of God that she, and we, are all called to be. Have you made that decision today? If so, rejoice. You are a child of God. If not, may I encourage you to embrace Christ as God’s sole provision for your sins, for Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6)