My heart and mind have mirrored the weather of our early spring this year. Cloudy rain and wind for days on end have led to delightful sun as well as surprise snows. When unpredictability reigns, the assurance that steadies is that things will eventually fall back into a familiar rhythm. In the meantime, grace is a good friend during life’s unpredictable times.
Here are ideas I’ve been mulling over as I think on grace this year.
Grace speaks truth.
Grace is not a gift that is given when expectations are met. In fact, it’s characterized by the opposite. Grace is freely given to another when they don’t meet expectations and instead fail miserably.
This is especially significant during difficult or unpredictable times. Grace removes burdensome expectations. Grace eliminates the need to perform or achieve. Grace allows freedom to attempt something, fail at it, and still be drawn into relationship again and again.
We regularly fail at what should be the most basic and simple act – loving God. And yet God is there. Embracing. Forgiving. Protecting. Sheltering. Concealing. With free, rich and abundant grace.
Weakness, inability, and hopelessness can often characterize unpredictable times. Sometimes life seems hard and the way forward unclear or unwelcoming. It’s easy to fall into old patterns of acting and thinking.
The good news is that God knows and sees and meets you there. He doesn’t respond with disdain or wait for you to pull yourself together. As Francis Chan said, He covers you.
And when you are in the midst of that and feel His grace? It truly is a precious gift. It quiets your soul. Energizes you. Causes you to wonder at the goodness of God. And leads you into worship of Him.
(“Your Grace Still Amazes Me” by Phillips, Craig & Dean)
Grace Speaks Truth
This thought is in line with the truth found in John 1:14, 16-17
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. … For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Jesus was the kindest man ever to walk on earth. He had compassion on people that others never even noticed. He always met people where they were. He extended grace at every turn and gave constant evidence of the immense generosity of the Father.
And yet he was always truthful. He offered grace to the woman caught in adultery while not excusing her obvious sin. He always pointed other to their true need and revealed the hard hearts of those who thought they had it all together.
Sometimes we don’t think grace and truth can coexist. But they can. And they must. Grace acknowledges where a person actually is and then gives whatever is needed to make that person whole. In the midst of loving us during unpredictable times, God is also speaking truth that stabilizes. Truth of His presence. Truth about us. Truth that can anchor our souls. Truth that can provide the firm footing we so desperately need.
Grace isn’t just about salvation; although salvation is a gift whose origin is grace. Grace is about abundant life. Life that is whole. Life that comes from the very fullness of God. (“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16) Life that becomes more than enough for whatever unpredictable time we are facing.
God gives to us from the very essence of His being. He gives to us so that we become mature and complete, not lacking in anything. He gives to us so we can experience joy and delight as we move through life. He gives to us so that we can grow up into Him.
Grace doesn’t benefit God. It benefits us. And it changes us. We become whole people who can, in turn, offer grace to those around us out of the richness we have been given.
Reflect on Grace
What unpredictable time are you walking through right now? Which grace truth do you need?
Grace speaks truth.
Take some time to mull it over.
Let it soak into your mind and heart.
Let grace meet you where you are.
Let God give to you from His fullness.
Let His truth anchor your soul.
(If this is the first month you’re joining us in this series, you can read more about One Word for One Year and what I’ve learned about grace in 2018.)