by Andrew McQuitty

This content is part of a series.

Surprised by Grace (11 of 17)

E. Andrew McQuitty

Introduction: Surprised By Grace . .

A.ILLUS: In 1989, Teresa Snider had it all going her way. At 24 years of age, she was married to her dream man, had just moved into a beautiful new home, and was enjoying a promising career. But in just a matter of seconds, her life fell apart. On the day of her second anniversary, she was driving home when a speeding car broadsided her, breaking her neck in three places. It took rescue workers over an hour to remove her from the wreckage. In the next week, she was shuffled between three hospitals in three states due to the complexity of her injuries. During that time, the doctors told Teresa's husband that she would need several reconstructive surgeries which could very well paralyze her permanently. At that, he marched into his wife's hospital room and said: No man in his right mind would want to be tied down with a wife in your condition. He walked out, and that was the last she saw of him . Ever.

B. With those words, Teresa Snider's husband pushed her into the wasteland of rejection--a place where inadequacy dooms people to scorn and where failure to measure up relegates people to insignificance. A lot of us live in that wasteland of rejection today. At work we are evaluated, not by our needs, but by our contributions. At school we are ranked, not by our effort, but by our GPA. On the athletic field we are rewarded, not by our sacrifice, but by our statistics. We're used to living by a performance standard in the eyes of others, and often, sometimes subconsciously, we evaluate others by a performance standard of our own making. We figure that if we as fallible humans demand performance for acceptance, surely God who is holy must demand big-time performance for acceptance.

C. That's why grace always comes as such a surprise. You've heard the term: it means, simply, to accept and love and give to a person, not because of their performance, but in spite of ...

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