At the start of my ministry, in the first congregation that I served, we had a Christian storyteller and singer by the name of Reverend Randy Mark Miles come and share his ministry with us. As a minister his songs struck a chord with me . . . in particular, Chain of Grace.
Chain of Grace was autobiographical about his early years in the ministry—those tough years of paying back student loans, serving a congregation at below minimum pay, and, trying to start a family. The time came in his life when he was called to a bigger congregation to serve . . . he and his family had to pack up, move on, and hope that the old car would make it. So he packed up the car with the expectant wife and couldn’t make it out of the driveway . . . the car would not go. It was at this moment that grace intervened . . . a member of the church took charge.
In an hour the church member returned with the necessary parts to fix the car. Another hour later the car was declared fit to drive. Randy Mark told the man he had nothing to pay him for the efforts that he had done, but the man assured him that it was okay. Explained that it was okay, okay because it was a part of the chain of grace . . . and, some day, Randy Mark would understand. Years later, Randy Mark had the opportunity to help another young couple embarking on a new adventure. It was then that he understood.
The chain of grace is not always understood when it is encountered. Throughout my life I have encountered the chain of grace and its touch upon my life. Each and every time I was overwhelmed by the grace I experienced . . . the pure selflessness of the other . . . and, the ability to do what I needed to do. Words cannot express the gratitude I felt with each experience of the chain of grace . . . it is overwhelming to have someone else love us without any strings attached.
Recently I had the opportunity to head south to Alabama to watch my son-in-law graduate from the Army’s Aviation University as a Blackhawk pilot. The goal was to watch his graduation and then help my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter move back to Montana . . . an adventure in . . . well, let’s just say it was an adventure! Things went well until it was time to pack the vehicles and head northwest to Big Sky Country. Let’s just say that nothing went according to plans (the daughter’s and son-in-law’s) as there were the typical governmental snafus. It looked as if the trip might be delayed or that the children were going to become residents of Alabama!
The chain of grace . . . I thank my daughter and son-in-law for inviting me to attend this rite of passage for him . . . and, the family. I thank them for the opportunity to witness such a special time in their lives . . . of realizing a dream . . . and, of coming home. I thank them for being able to be there when things seemed dark and hopeless. I thank them for allowing the wife and I to help them in this time of need. And, I thank God that the wife and I were at a place in our lives in which we could help them. Basically I ran out, got the necessary parts, and enable us all to complete the journey.
It was probably the easiest long distance driving adventure I have ever had. The weather was great . . . the traffic was quite easy (for those who are wondering, I only used sign language twice on the whole trip) . . . and, the granddaughter was 99.9 percent perfect. She did not lose it until the last thirty minutes of the trip home, but my butt was screaming with her! It was a wonderful trip made thanks to the prayers of traveling mercy by so many. Most importantly, it felt right . . . the chain of grace.
Yes, I added another link to the chain of grace . . . the children arrived to at their destination and ready to begin the next stage of their adventure. I thought about it a lot while I was driving between Alabama and Montana . . . I understood the chain of grace . . . and, I thank God that we were able to help. I am not worried about when they will be able to return the favor. Others helped me in the past, and I am sure that my daughter and son-in-law will help someone else out in the future . . . that they will come to realize the chain of grace.
Life is difficult . . . a little help never hurt. That is what the chain of grace is all about. We all need a little help now and then . . .