At the midpoint of every well-written movie or book is what Dr. Stanley Williams calls the Moment of Grace. This is when the protagonist realizes the error of his ways and makes a choice to accept (or decline) a change in his life that will set him on the course to happiness, success, getting the girl, catching the killer, whatever the case may be. Minor characters also have a Moment of Grace, but they can take place anywhere within the story. James Scott Bell refers to this moment as the Man in the Mirror. It is (sometimes literally) when a character takes a look at himself and does not like what he sees.
Movies and novels are neat like that. The Moment of Grace for the main character will almost always take place dead center of the story. Real life, of course, isn’t such a neat package. Every Christian should have had the one Big Moment of Grace, the day they turned from their sin and the world and toward Christ. Most of us can vividly remember that moment. If we had to write our life story, the days and hours leading up that moment would encompass a large portion of the book, for that is the moment that would define who we are for the rest of our lives.
But our lives are made up of many stories. Many subplots. Thousands of characters whose story lines and character arcs intersect ours, some converging and running parallel for many years. Think of the moment your future spouse met your eyes for the first time. She could have just as easily turned and walked away. Intersecting paths instead of converging paths. The particulars of life are fragile that way, though life taken as a whole is fairly robust.
Likewise, God intersects our story line numerous times. Yes, the Holy Spirit converges and remains with us, but I see God the Father as that person of the trinity who crosses our path when we’re in special need, during those moments–too numerous to count for most of us–when we fall into sin or struggle with our marriage or are plagued with doubt.
The Moments of Grace are always a blessing, but always painful. After attending a James Scott Bell presentation, I’ll always picture Humphrey Bogart during his Moment of Grace in Casablanca. He’d just called Lauren Bacall a whore (but in a cool, Bogie sort of way). After she walks out, Bogart is left alone, in the dark, burying his head in his hands. This is how a Moment of Grace looks. Alone. Painful.
Our true Big Moment of Grace didn’t really happen when we walked up to the altar, surrounded by other converts, family, and church elders ready to welcome us into His Kingdom. That was purely symbolic. The real decision happened before that moment. When we’re alone. When we’ve realized the pain we’ve inflicted on the ones and The One who’ve loved us despite our selfishness and sin-stained lives.
It is at that moment when God the Father crosses our path and meets our spiritual eyes. Unlike our spouse, though, He would never turn and walk away. That choice is entirely ours.
Are you being offered a Moment of Grace right now? Don’t let it pass. Fall to your knees and accept your new direction. I promise, it will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.