John 6:44 Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me.”
He also said, “…apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5b)
In other words, even coming to Christ is not at our initiation, but God’s.
Charles Wesley had a term for this action of the Father when He draws us to Christ. He called it “prevenient grace.”
Looking back in my past to identify signs of prevenient grace in my life, I remember an incident in my childhood which I count as my earliest possible memory of this grace.
I must have been quite young, but already at school, so possibly five or six years old. Somebody at school told me that if you stripped a feather of all but a top tuft of vanes and planted it in the ground, you could make a wish and the wish would come true. At that age I already felt inferior to others. I wasn’t as pretty, as comfortable socially, as interesting as other kids. I felt I was not good enough. My wish was that I could be good enough. In the back of my mind I had a sort of fairy story. I was actually a princess and had been swopped at birth and one day people would find out who I really was.
Peering back through sixty years, I can see that this was my first inkling that I was a sinner. At university I heard another variation on this theme from an Assembles of God pastor. “Wherever I go, I go too and spoil everything.”
I have now been a Christian for over forty years. I know that I have the righteousness of Christ since on the cross He exchanged my sin for His righteousness. Nobody can say that’s not good enough. Moreover, I know myself to be a daughter of the King of the Universe. In anybody’s book, that makes me a princess.
So it might have taken a while but my wish on a feather came true.