Grace strikes at unexpected times, Tillich suggests: when we are in pain, feeling restless, empty, alone, estranged, or when we feel disgust, weakness, or hostility. It strikes us when other things don't work, when we feel directionless and useless, when compulsions reign, and darkness overshadows. When the ordinariness of life grinds us down, or the vacuity of the world's promises leaves us empty, when we finally realize our churning and churning is taking us nowhere fast, in such moments, grace comes to us like a wave of light in the darkness, and we perceive a voice saying, "You are accepted."
"We don't know the name
of it at the time; there will be much to learn later," Tillich
writes. We don't have to promise
anything at the time, for in that moment we are fundamentally the recipients of
a promise. We don't have to give
anything; only to receive what is given.
Our only and singular task is to accept
that we are accepted.
You are loved. You are loved. You
Can you accept that?
-- Robert Schnase in Five Practices of Fruitful Living