BITUMINOUS AND GRACE

By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

My father worked for MN DOT (Department of Transportation.)
Road inspector; always looked important, official.
Drove a bright orange state pick-up, hard hat in one hand, rolled up blueprints in another.
Blueprints regularly spread out across the kitchen table; lines like spider webs everywhere.
Strange, unfamiliar vocabulary.
First exposure to the amazing word .... bituminous.
Didn’t even care what it meant; heard it once and never forgot it.
Rolled through my childish mind and off my tongue with extraordinary wonder.
Told my friends my Dad "did bituminous work."
Sounded too important to even question. Heads nodding. 
Very important job.
We all understood.
Wasn’t until years later I learned that bituminous is simply a blacktop sealant;
a hot-tar measuring 4-6 inches thick to cover the gravel underlayment.
Doesn’t really matter.
~~~
I’m out walking the other day and the word grace gets stuck in my head.
Rolls through my mind and around on my tongue with extraordinary wonder.
Feels vaguely familiar.
All of a sudden I’m six again and recall the word bituminous.
Doing the same thing with a different word.
And God is speaking to me.
Bituminous and Grace ... notable similarities.
Grace is a big ministry word like bituminous is a big construction word.
Used in certain environments with regularity;
not understood by a large population.
Words again:
Grace isn’t a concept to be defined; it’s a gift to be received.
You can’t achieve grace, Darrelyn. It’s a gift.
No work involved.
Just soul extended and “need” understood. 
I try to let the words sink in and ….
I start to cry.
Grace is easier to extend to others,
than to apply to self.
~~~
But right now in my life, God knows, I have this extraordinary need for grace.
He has to work to redefine it for me; attach it to me.
I’m not an easy case; keep resisting.
One truth after another …
but one sticks out:
“So then, it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth,
but of God that showeth mercy.”
Romans 9:16
Can’t argue with God; He’s always right.
An internal struggle like a high fever …. and finally I break.
Soul’s in a sweat.
And the Pastor’s wife is begging for …. grace.
Always thought begging was so unbecoming.
Not today….
I beg,
God unleashes…..
and grace touches me;
washes me,
cleanses me.
Water on a parched soul.
Rain in a desert.
The love of Jesus saturating a bottomless dry pit of need and desperation.
Sinking into a 
naked, bare, unworthy soul
and covering me,
refreshing me,
filling me.
The word leaves my tongue; enters into my heart.
Today I experienced the extraordinary wonder … called grace.
~~~~
“And He said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee; 
for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9