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Story of Faith: Grace Extended Through Unsuspecting Hands

In God’s profound mercy and unwavering grace, he can use unsuspecting circumstances to guide lost souls to the message of salvation.

He can even use an invitation from a young boy to attend his piano recital.

My mother was a piano teacher with over thirty students for many years. Naturally, I was expected to take piano lesson. This meant that each morning before school, I had to get up extra early to practice. Like any eleven-year-old boy, I was not very pleased about that.

One day, I grumbled about my piano lessons and practicing to my best friend’s grandmother who was kind, interested in everything I had to say, and always offered a cookie. She allowed me to call her Grandma Hawes and lived up the hill in a small one-bedroom house next door to my friend’s family. A retired schoolteacher, she just smiled after I complained and encouraged me to keep practicing. “Someday, David,” she told me in a gentle voice, “you will appreciate it.”

Several weeks later, my friend and I were playing in her front 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. Without giving much thought, I invited her to come and hear me play.

My mother’s big spring recital was held at a small Lutheran church that had a beautiful grand piano in its sanctuary. She knew the church secretary and received permission to conduct the recital on a Sunday evening. Many students and their families filled the church for this important occasion.

Nervous and scared, I turned in my chair to scan the audience when I saw a familiar face. Sitting in the back row, dressed properly with a pin on her light blue dress, I was amazed to see Grandma Hawes.

She came! She actually accepted my invitation and drove her car several miles to watch me play the piano.

My friend’s family never attended church, nor did I ever hear Grandma Hawes mention church or talk about faith in God. It may have been the first time she had stepped inside a church for many years. But God used this recital in a special way.

As I grew into my teenage years, I didn’t see my friend often, nor Grandma Hawes. For my high school graduation, my parents held an open house and sent out invitations to all of our neighbors and friends.

Towards the end of the evening, a final knock came at the door. I opened the front door and there was Grandma Hawes. She looked older and was now clinging a walker firmly with both hands. She still lived in the same one-bedroom house up the street and had insisted that her son to drive her to the open house.

Grandma Hawes had surprised me again.

But there was something noticeably different about her.

While my friend’s parents stood sheepishly behind her, Grandma Hawes reached out to grab my hands.

“David,” she said, “I just had to come to your house to thank you.” Her eyes were beginning to brim with tears.

“I want to thank you, David,” Grandma Hawes exclaimed, “for inviting me to your piano recital.” Her eyes began to glisten with tears. “After your recital, 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, because your invitation brought me to faith in God.”

Since our family rarely attended church, I didn’t know how to respond or grasp the significance of what she was telling me. Feeling awkward, I simply smiled, nodded, and returned her warm handshake.

Grandma Hawes received faith through the power of his Word at that small Lutheran Church. God’s pursuing grace used an unassuming invitation to a piano recital from a boy that was extended without much thought.

Within a year after my open house, the Lord called her home to heaven. And about a year after seeing Grandma Hawes at my door, I received faith during my freshman year in college.

I believe she was praying for me and the Lord heard her prayer.

I look forward to seeing Grandma Hawes in heaven. I can already see her warm eyes of understanding, wisdom, and love. And I get to return her thanks, because I fully appreciate what God gave to both of us – his grace through unsuspecting hands.

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