Friday night I sat alone in my warm car in the school parking lot, listening to the radio and watching traffic go by. I was waiting for the school bus that would bring my daughter back from her last basketball game of the season, a tournament held at another school three hours away.
The arrival time for the bus had passed 20 minutes ago, but I’d seen the backup on the interstate and figured they’d been delayed. A few minutes later, the long white bus with the school name printed on its side came into view. As it sat waiting for cars to pass so it could make its turn and discharge its riders to the waiting parents, a feeling of intense gratitude came over me. The sight of that big white bus, back from its pilgrimage with all passengers safely inside, caused me to say aloud, “Thank you, God.”
You see, I know that not every bus full of bright, happy, young teenagers returns home. Not every student who climbs onto a school bus walks off. But this night, from this event, God brought our daughter safely home. Let me not take this for granted, not now and not ever, this expression of His grace in protecting one I love.
What about those who don’t come back, when accidents happen or tragedies take place? What about God’s grace then? I’m as unqualified as anyone to answer as to God’s purposes or plans or to begin to fathom His all omniscient character.
But having faced difficult trials myself, I know that it’s then that we must trust, that we experience His grace in a different light, the all-encompassing, God-only-given grace that carries us through when human effort fails and self-generated peace flees.
Friday night, as she got ready to go to sleep, I hugged my daughter tight and prayed over her and thanked God for the safety He’d provided. May those words not be rote, but heartfelt, never letting me take these partings and reunions for granted, seeing the grace and the blessings, taking each one from His hand with a thankful heart.