You know that saying that God gives you as much grace as you need to take care of the things you really need to take care of? No extra, not enough for what you're going to need in the future, but just enough for today?
Usually that idea is meant to reassure people who can barely handle today's responsibilities, and are fretting about whether they will be able to handle the "more" that might come in the future. What will I do when the kids are teenagers since I barely know what I am doing with these preschoolers? How will I handle three children when I feel frantic with only two? How can I figure out how to help my kids learn this subject next year that I never really understood myself?
The idea is to reassure them that later, WHEN they need more grace, they will receive more grace. Just because they don't have it yet doesn't mean that they won't get it then. Just-in-time delivery.
Well. I heard a mother of ten giving a talk today in which she pointed out that it may go the other way, too. "You would think that me, a mom of ten, who has had as many as six children to teach at once, would be COASTING when most of them are grown and gone and there are only three children left to teach in the house. It's not so. It's still hard. You only get the grace you need. No more."
Kind of intimidating, isn't it? But why shouldn't it go the other way, if we really believe that there is something called "grace," something that is a free gift? It isn't the same as the natural growth of skills as we gain experience. It isn't the same as our enlarging maturity and our practice in patience. All those things are real, but they're natural. I think we would like to believe that we deserve to keep the grace we've gotten in the past. But if we really believe in grace, we have to also believe that graces can be withdrawn when we don't need them to do our duties -- and that this doesn't represent a fundamental unfairness.
Otherwise we haven't really grasped what grace is.