Thursday, June 18, 2015

Grace for the moment

My life has been a series of events where the Lord is asking me to have grace I don't have. Grace to believe Him, to trust Him, and to know He knows what is best. Grace to remember the things He has already promised me even when my surroundings or circumstances tell me something different. Grace to be unaffected by people's choices and words, to be steadfast, immovable, confident in my identity as a Daughter of my immovable Creator.

How do I know I can rely on this grace? Because every single word of the Bible, every story, every situation written down points to the undeserved grace of God. It is a narrative of God's grace. "By the transformational power of his grace, God unilaterally reaches his hands into the muck of this fallen world, through the presence of his Son, and radically transforms his children from what we are  (sinners) into what we are becoming by his power (Christ-like)" (Paul Tripp, Grace).

So grace wakes me up to my obvious need for a Savior, and helps me understand my ability to rely on my Lord. Grace allows me to stand at the door and knock, and grace opens the door. Grace makes me feel the weightiness of my sin, and makes me feel altogether beautiful and without flaw. Grace assures that I see the appalling truths about myself, and helps me see how I am being made into a new creation. Grace bids me come and die, and grace bids me eternal life. Grace knocks me to my knees at the end of my wits, and grace raises me up to stand on a rock. Grace lets us discover where the Lord is taking us, and grace knows where the Lord is taking us.

Grace is the irresistible oxymoron. It is a great paradox.

When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well the disciples returned and saw him speaking with her. They "marveled that he was talking with a woman" (4:27). The woman leaves to go tell many Samaritans from her town about what happened to her. In the mean time the disciples were trying to get Jesus to eat and Jesus' response was, "my food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes and see the fields are white for harvest (4:35).

Then, "many samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony" (4:39). The disciples couldn't see what Jesus was doing, but Jesus was only doing what the Father told him to do. Although it seemed like a waste of time to the disciples, God was doing something. And although we don't know what the Lord is up to in a given moment, we know His grace is there to lead and guide us where our trust is without borders.

“I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.”  -Elisabeth Elliot

Similarly, when Naomi returns to Bethlehem after many unfortunate events and a time of sojourning in Moab, she couldn't see any hope. Everything seemed pointless to her.

But, in reality, the famine, moving to Moab, the deaths of the husbands, Ruth's loyalty, Naomi's return during the harvest, Boaz, and EVEN the kinsman who chose not to redeem Ruth all were a part of God's grace. They were all a part of God's plan to redeem millions and include a Moabite in the royal, Messianic bloodline. The story was much bigger then Naomi could see. God's grace was ever present.

Today, after a series of unfortunate events in my life, hope is sometimes hard to find. Grace has to be my immovable rock for yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Situations and people around me will change and it may seem hopeless, but my heart and my eyes remain steadfast, fixed on the provider of grace.

I will count it all joy my brothers, when I meet trials of various kinds, for I know that the testing of my faith produces steadfastness. And I will let steadfastness have its full effect, that I amy be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4).

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