In the picture in my mind, the vast treasury of God’s grace, favor, and blessing is an endless jar of Vaseline with no lid, turned upside-down in the air above me.
“[Be] generous distributors of God’s manifold grace,” says St.Peter. (I Peter 4:8-11)
And so, in my mind’s eye, I hoist a friend with a cancer diagnosis up into the air and shove her unceremoniously into the Vaseline grace. There, I spin her around like a carnival barker wrapping a paper cone with freshly-spun cotton candy.
When she is well-coated, I put her down, knowing the grace will soak into her life and moisturize her situation with God’s unmerited favor until the dry wind of our arid, sinful climate makes another application necessary.
Fun! An easy way to pray for a person, especially during those times when it feels like the words of a prayer are not enough.
It’s true, God doesn’t need me to recite a prayer or imagine a jar of Vaseline grace to help someone in need. He is powerful enough to fix every problem without my involvement, but you know, he really likes it when we ask. In fact, he waits to act until we ask.
“How badly do you want this?” He asks. “Enough to keep after me until I grant it?”
In the trainer’s office of my high school gym, the physical therapist kept a huge plastic jug of ointment. It was always open, with two or three wide, flat tongue-depressor sticks in it. If you needed ointment, you used the stick to serve big dollop into a paper cup and then spread it on your hurting joints with your fingers.
Sometimes, I reach up with a mental tongue-depressor stick and scoop out a big glompf of grace to smear liberally over the guy in the car next to me at the stoplight. In my mind, I wipe it all over the lady behind the glass at the pharmacy drive-thru, and envelop the entire airplane, climbing steeply, in a mound of protective grace.
God has plenty, and he likes to share. Be a generous distributor!
Vaseline, like Elmer’s Glue in the hands of a first-grader, has one more important characteristic. When you work with it, it goes everywhere.
Especially on you.