God’s grace extends from the most innocent of hands.
In his profound mercy, the Lord will use unsuspecting circumstances to lead and guide souls to the truth of the gospel. He can even use an eleven year old boy like myself and a simple invitation to his piano recital.
My mother was a piano teacher. Naturally, it was expected that I take piano lessons. Thought I grumbled and complained to get up extra early on a school day to practice, I knew there was no way out.
I complained about this to my best friend’s grandmother, who I called Grandma Hawes. She lived next door to my friend in a small one bedroom house. A retired school teacher and in her early 80’s, she just smiled and encouraged me to keep practicing. “Someday,” she said, “I will appreciate it.”
Weeks later, while my friend and I were playing outside her yard, Grandma Hawes came out to tend to her roses and inquired about my piano lessons. I told her that I was preparing for an upcoming spring recital and wasn’t too excited about the prospect. Without giving much thought, I invited her to come along.
This year’s spring recital happened to be at a small Lutheran church that had a grand piano in its sanctuary. My mother knew the church secretary and received permission to conduct the spring recital on a Sunday evening.
The big night arrived and I was shocked to see a familiar face in the back row. Always prim and proper, there sat Grandma Hawes with her familiar shock of white hair. She actually accepted my invitation and was probably more shocked than I that she drove to my recital and was sitting in a small padded pew. It was the first time in over fifty years that she had stepped inside a church.
As I grew older, I didn’t see my friend as much, nor Grandma Hawes. Upon graduating from high school, my parents held an open house in my honor and invited all of our neighbors and friends.
Towards the end of the evening, a final knock came at the door. I opened the door and there stood Grandma Hawes. She had grown older and was now using a walker. My friend’s parents had driven her down the street to my house and stood sheepishly behind her. Grandma Hawes had firmly insisted that she come to my open house.
But that was something different about her.
With a wide smile and an expression of sheer joy, she reached out her hands to grab mine. “I want to thank you, David,” Grandma Hawes exclaimed, “for inviting me to your piano recital.” Her eyes began to glisten with tears. “Afterwards, I stood in the foyer of the church and something caught my eye on the bulletin board. It looked intriguing, so I came back to that church the following Sunday. And I haven’t missed a Sunday since. I have you to thank for that, David.”
Raised in a family that only went to church twice a year, I didn’t know nor grasp the significance of what she was telling me. Feeling awkward, I simply smiled, nodded, and returned her warm handshake.
Grandma Hawes came to faith and was baptized at that small Lutheran Church. Within a year after my open house, the Lord called her home to heaven.
An invitation from a boy to attend a piano recital at a church. Harmless, unassuming, extended without much thought. Yet God used the most innocent of hands from an un-churched boy like myself to extend his grace and mercy.
I came to know the Lord while a freshman in college and look forward to seeing Grandma Hawes in heaven. I can already see her warm eyes of understanding, love and sheer thankfulness. I truly believe she was praying for me.
And I get to return her thanks with eyes glistening with tears.