So..."Grace" is my watchword for 2015. This post is obviously about grace. But, how do you write about grace when you are, to put it bluntly, really ticked off?
I had waited months to get in with a specialist regarding perpetual nerve pain in my foot. I was ready to head out the door to the appointment when the pest control company called back about scheduling a follow up visit in my ongoing war with the ants in my kitchen. While on that call, the doctor's office called to cancel the appointment that I was heading out the door to go to.
What? They were cancelling right now? Apparently the doctor had a "family emergency". I'm embarrassed to admit it, but any trace of grace for him and his situation immediately blew right out the window. All I could think about was me and my pain at the moment. After multiple calls back and forth with his office, then waiting on hold listening to how great their practice was for eighteen minutes on speakerphone, I finally got a live person who told me two weeks out was the best they could do. Click.
To say that I was not a happy camper would be an understatement. My uber-conscience urged me to utter a half-hearted prayer for his family emergency. Determined not to let this ruin my day, I opted for plan B. I would work on this blog post. With steam still coming out my ears, I prayed. I tried to humble my agitated heart before God. I typed the title and I sat staring at my laptop....
Nothing...I would have had a better chance of turning water into wine than I was going to have writing this post. Just then my phone pinged. It was my good friend and neighbor asking me if I could spare some time to help her assemble and stuff wedding invitations for her daughter who was already distraught that they were going out so late. "Sure", I texted back, "be right over."
How ironic, that in the middle of my ugliness, God was calling on me to measure out - or to give grace.
God can be uncanny with His timing. He knew that I couldn't write about grace until I had been called to freely give it.
And, we can't give grace unless we have truly and fully received grace.
By fully I mean...fill 'er up! You wouldn't walk into a restaurant, pay for a full glass of soda, and then tell the waitress to only fill it half full because that's all you deserved. Nor, would you expect the waitress to grudgingly fill your glass to the top. No, you would drink that full glass and joyfully wait on free refills.
If this analogy was truly reflective of God's grace, we would not be the ones paying for the glass of soda...Jesus would have already paid the price for that full glass of soda (grace).
Somehow we get the mistaken idea that if we keep messing up we will, at some point, run out of, or use up our allotment of grace.
The exact opposite is true. If you are a believer you can NEVER run out of God's grace.
You can't exhaust Him.
You can't disappoint Him.
You can't try His patience to a breaking point.
You just can't. That is what is so truly amazing about God's grace.
Word analysis time (bear with me, I was an English major).
Grace = generous act of God- making us acceptable in His sight through Christ's death.
Grace or (charis) in the Greek form means different things in different contexts. Grace can mean: favor, goodwill, blessings freely given (not by any claim or merit), rejoicing, gratitude, thankfulness, kindness, mercy, acceptance, power.
Grace is a divine blessing given to us by the in-working of the Holy Spirit.
Grace is a blessing freely given. It is NOT based on works or earning it.
In fact Christianity is the only religion based on grace. All other religions are based on works.
Renee Swope, author of "A Confident Heart" said in her book that she surveyed over 1,000 women and discovered that our past failures and fear of failing in the future are the two most common causes of insecurity and self doubt.
What a relief, then, to know that no matter what I do or how badly I mess up, God's grace extends further. I can't do it on my own, but in His power I can pick myself up and begin again. What freedom!!
My grace is sufficient for you; for my power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
"We do what we can and then we rest in grace." (Holley Gerth)
"If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking." (worship song by J. McMillan)
Obviously we don't go on purposefully sinning so that our grace may increase.
But, we go on living freely knowing that God's grace has set us free.
Lord, help me to know that because of Your grace, my guilt is forgiven - washed clean. Strengthen my heart to know that no matter what, I can never run out of Your grace. When I want to give You my "works" enable me to give You my thanks instead. Let me feel Your waterfall of never ending grace fall down on me and give me peace. In Jesus' precious name, Amen.
ps. Please leave a comment below or contact me to let me know how I can pray for you...
Please pray for Redeemer Christian School in Pakistan. The Director, Anosh, has not been well and needs prayer for healing...especially since Easter is approaching. For Easter we are trying to raise funds so that every child at the school can have his/her own Bible in their language. To do so, donations in the next couple weeks are critical. If you would like to place a Bible in a child's hands, please go to my "Missions" tab and donate. Thank you!
**This post dedicated to my friends who have lavished much grace upon me in my times of weakness.