Odd title, I admit. But, first as context, let’s talk about referred pain. This is simply a situation where our nervous system sends signals throughout the body in a way that pain in one part of the body is actually caused by injury or disease in another part.
This simple chart illustrates this phenomenon.
Basically, overeating pizza can not only cause pain/discomfort in our gut, but also in our back, shoulders, etc., because of the referred pain.
God’s grace and mercy can be referred just like referred pain.
To be clear, grace is receiving something we don’t deserve. Mercy is NOT receiving something we do deserve.
God does some work in one person and that person experiences God’s grace and mercy.
But, that same grace and mercy produces an overflow that can go to, be referred to, other people. This is what happened to me.
Before God’s grace and mercy captured me, he was capturing our two sons, Wade Daniel and Chris. God was working through their youth group and it’s leaders, Helen and Beatty. They held a Bible study every Sunday night for students who wanted to go deeper into God’s word and what that meant in their lives.
God’s grace and mercy also reached them through their experience as campers and later as staff at an outreach program called MountainTOP. The TOP means Tennessee Outreach Program. Church youth groups came together at camps in Tennessee and served the poorer people of Appalachia through work projects during the day.
At night, the students would get together to share their experiences from the day, to study God’s word, and to worship.
Both of these experiences, the youth group and MountainTOP, were means that God used to pour his grace and mercy into our sons and capture them for his kingdom.
Being close to our sons, I was in a position to experience the overflow of God’s grace and mercy from their lives. The grace and mercy that God poured into them was ‘referred’ into my life. I couldn’t help but notice how they were changing and growing in their faith.
God used other means of grace and mercy to capture me for his kingdom, but there is no doubt in my mind that the referred grace and mercy from my two sons was a key part of that capture process.
And for that I am eternally grateful.