One of my (Cathy) favorite things to do back in South Africa is to visit Kruger National Park. This is the largest wild animal sanctuary in the country and is about the size of Great Britain.
The adventure starts when you drive through the gate. The magic and sounds of Africa are unlike anything you have experienced before. A peace and tranquility descends on you that brings instant rest to your soul. There is a sense of being “lost” to what we call the “real” world, and you forget about everything but what is right there at that moment.
There is no city nightlife, no rush, and no crowd of people wanting to be somewhere in the shortest time possible. The only nightlife is the distant roar of a lion, the sound of a hippo in the nearest watering hole or the barking of a hyena. Life becomes slow, thoughtful and so quiet you want to whisper instead of speak out loud.
Nights are spent in the safety of fenced campgrounds, but during the day, we drive around in the park, looking for animals in their natural surroundings. This in itself takes patience. They usually hide away or are disguised by the bush. But every now and then, you unexpectedly collide with or come upon an animal around a corner or running across the road, and your whole world changes! You become mesmerized by what they look like, their graceful movement, by the way they blend into their surroundings. And you sit for ages watching—wishing it would last forever. Then you move along, looking for the next event.
That’s how I see Grace Encounters. The word encounter means: to collide with unexpectedly; to come upon suddenly. Through our acceptance of the finished work of the cross of Jesus Christ, we have been placed on the road of life, not death.
John 5:24 says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”
This is a place of tranquility and quiet.
Grace is a person, and that person is Jesus Christ Himself. Grace is God’s ability working in you, enabling you to do what you naturally cannot do. The Bible tells us that grace and truth came through Jesus. Jesus said He is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE (Jn. 1:14-17).
Everything in my life is exposed to the grace of God when I trust Jesus’ work. Everything in my life is subject to goodness when I let Jesus love me—regardless of how I feel. He knows how I feel and what I’m going through. Jesus knows I need help! That’s why He died for me—so I could be put on the road where I can have a grace encounter.
I can expect a grace encounter EVERY DAY, whether I feel good or bad. God is not the one who makes bad stuff happen to me. I’m on the grace encounter road where He will help me, protect me and not hurt me.
Isaiah 30:18 (AMPC) reads, “And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!”
We should all walk this road looking for the grace encounters that will mesmerize and amaze us because God is good. Some of the markers I will “collide” with on this road are His FAVOR, LOVE, PEACE, JOY and His MATCHLESS, UNBROKEN COMPANIONSHIP.
I can only get bent out of shape in life when I get my eyes off the grace encounter road and veer off into the bush on the side.
Sometimes, I bang around in the bush, rocks or thorns and think God is teaching me something. NO! He’s the one showing me the marvel of His goodness and leading me back onto the grace encounter road.
Arthur’s teaching, Grace Encounters, is awesome! Everyone with whom He shares this message leaves so excited about the Father’s grace encounters—changing dead ends into new beginnings!