Grace for the Journey
When you have a popular Bible and song name, you grow up enduring all the jokes that come with it. Throughout my journey, I cannot begin to tell you the amount of times people have sung "Amazing Grace" to me. One reason I prefer not to listen to that song anymore. Having the name Grace, took on a brand new meaning for me during my sophomore year of college. My sophomore year was one of the most physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually challenging years of my life. It felt as if my world and plans were imploding upon itself. I got to a place where I was so frustrated with people using me for their own agenda. Then those same people dropping me when they got what they wanted. After I had served my purpose in their agenda. I was also getting frustrated with myself for continually giving people second, third, and twentieth chances. My heart wanted to see the best in them, yet I kept getting the same results. I was in a place one night where I just broke. And O asked God why in the world I kept giving these people continual chances to use, abuse, and bulldoze over me. Yet they never changed.
God's response shook me. He told me that my name is Grace for a reason. My name is not just a meaningless name. I was given my name for a purpose. To be a living example of what His grace is. My life is a living example of what His grace is. I would not be here if not for His grace. His grace stayed with me even when I kept throwing it back in His face. God's grace to me, and to every single one of us is far greater than any we could extend to one another.
At one time in our life, we were strangers to the grace of God. Now, thanks be to God, we belong to Him and His household (Ephesians 2:19). We tend to want our lives to be perfect. However, if our lives were sinless, we would not need God or His grace. We tend to want God to wipe out what pains us. Or we use it to lead us away from Him. Sometimes God leaves things in us as a reminder of how far we have come. And how much we desperately need Him. Our scars serve as reminders of where He brought us from and how we could do nothing without His loving grace.
Jacob (Israel) was forever left with a limp after spending a night wresting with the Lord (Genesis 32:22-32). From that day on, Jacob was left with a physical (his limp) and identity (changed name) reminder of who He was and where he came from.
Peter was left in awe of his unfaithfulness and disbelief in Christ after stumbling into the sea and disowning his relationship with Jesus.
Saul (Paul) was healed of his blindness (Acts 9). Yet I am almost certain that experience stuck with him for the rest of his ministry.
Grace is something we cannot live without. It will also cost us more than we could ever want or imagine. One of my favorite descriptions of grace comes from Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
...Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ living and incarnate... Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift...
which must be asked for... such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it cost a Man His life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life... Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of His Son... and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us... Costly grace is Jesus Christ incarnate."
is a necessity of this life
must always go with us
must be our guide
comforts us when we feel inadequate
gently leads us along the journey
is so powerful because it is so rare
Such grace which we have received, we must also readily be prepared to give out to others. Grace must be sought again and again and again. We can never reach a place where we are no longer in need of grace. For sinners we were born, and sinners we will be until we are made whole in Him in eternity. We are in desperate need of grace. Could never earn grace, which is exactly why it is such a beautiful gift given. How have people demonstrated grace in your life? Have you shown grace to others recently?