What is a Grace Quest?
By Bob Rakestraw
A “grace quest” is, first of all, a search by God for people everywhere upon whom he longs to pour out his blessings: his gifts and benefits both for this life and the life to come. Second, it is a search by people everywhere for some kind of spiritual reality that will help them make sense of life and offer them hope and support in times of need. Both God and human beings are on a quest, which the dictionary defines as a pursuit, search, or investigation after something or someone. It may also be described as a longing or hunger.
The term “grace quest,” then, has a twofold sense. God longs to bless women, men, girls and boys everywhere; and human beings–even though they may not know what to call it–long for the deep inner peace, joy, and purpose that only God can give.
The word “grace” (the Greek word is charis) is used many times in the English Bible. Much of the time it refers to God’s favor: God’s inexpressible kindness and mercy shown toward people–even those who do not know of him or acknowledge him–because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, “the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). An example of this use of “grace” is found in the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, chapter two, where we read twice that “it is by grace you have been saved” (vss. 5, 8), and that in the coming ages God will show “the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (v. 7).
At other times, however, “grace” refers to God’s power to strengthen and help people in the everyday matters of life and specific situations of urgency. An example of this use of “grace” is found in the Lord’s word to Paul in the apostle’s second letter to the Corinthians: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (12:9).
God’s grace is thus shown to us both in his favor and his power. A person’s favorable attitude toward us is heart-warming and encouraging, but by itself it does not give us the actual power and strength (whether physical, financial, intellectual, relational, volitional) to accomplish what we need to do. Conversely, a person’s power made available to us may help us do certain things, but without the giver’s cheerful spirit and encouraging attitude toward us, their actions and gifts may not accomplish much of real and lasting value.
When a person of grace–especially the Creator and Lord of all–extends both favor and power to us, we are indeed blessed. And as we respond positively to God’s offers of grace we begin to see remarkable things happening in our lives personally and in our service to others, as we become agents of God’s grace to them.