So That…That Is Grace!
Grace…what a confusing word it can be. I understand that grace is God’s unmerited/undeserved favor or blessing. I don’t deserve His forgiveness and yet He has forgiven me. He has provided a way for me to spend eternity with Him and live my life here on earth with joy and purpose, when it could be excruciatingly empty.
Yet…I have recently asked God to help me understand grace better…to make it fresh…to feel it deep.
As only God can do, He prepared my heart for the answer to my question with the sorrow that has surrounded us in these last months. A brother-in-law “too young” to have a massive stroke who was given a day or two to live and taken off of life support. We all said our goodbyes. The miracle that he didn’t die and the expectation that he would just be whole. But then…his struggle to accomplish things mentally, physically and emotionally. Trying to make sense of the tension between the miracle and the struggle.
A friend whose baby grandson was taken by preventable circumstances. A hospital visit with a couple we had never met. The wife is in great pain and significant danger. No answers. The fifty-something year old husband’s grief is palpable. His tears so near the surface. A friend of many years going to heaven unexpectedly…so young. Her husband and her young daughters with little ones…how they all needed her here to love and counsel as her daughters raise their daughters and sons. Another friend’s family splintering.
But God…But God…
I think of how God has promised to use all of these terrible and painful things…and what does it all have to do with grace?
I read what Ann Voskamp says on page 96 of her book, 1000 Gifts “I awaken to the strange truth that ‘All new life comes out of the dark places’, and hasn’t it always been? That the fullest of life dawns from nothing but Calvary darkness and tomb – cave black into the radiance of Easter morning.”
I have a refreshed view of Grace and it is this: Who am I that the darkness has brought me to a fuller life rather than into more darkness as it does so many who experience dark places?
Why was I born into a family that leaned into God and not born into a family steeped in faithlessness, spiritual poverty, and despair? Who am I that God allowed me to lean into that faith rather than walk away from it? Who am I, though I sin gravely and rebel secretly…that eventually light is recognized…faith grows? Who am I that I have the joy of watching those I love deeply, as they learn to respond…breaking bitter generational chains by allowing God to use the dark places to bring light into their lives?
Why me? Why you?
Who are we?
2 Peter 1:2 (NIV) 2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.