Everybody has their stuff… their challenges, their hard times, their mountains to climb. I’m no different over here. I just advertise mine to the whole blogosphere while everyone else keeps theirs to themselves. All that we’ve been going through lately has had me thinking about God’s grace.
What is grace anyway? There’s the acrostic I learned when I was in youth group: GRACE is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. But going a little deeper, I think God’s grace is when we get something that we don’t deserve. It’s God’s favor. It’s God looking down on us and saying, “I love you so much, I’m gonna cut you some slack. I’m gonna help you out. Why? Because you are highly favored in my eyes.”
The funny thing about grace is this… God does not dole it out equally. He certainly doesn’t withhold it, but he just doesn’t give the same amount to everyone. It doesn’t work like that.
No, He gives it to us as we NEED it.
I went to a Beth Moore Bible Study last year at my church and she was talking about how she had a small group of girlfriends that were really close. One of the women in the group had a sick child that ended up dying. At the funeral Beth sat in the front row with her girlfriends who were bawling their eyes out in utter devastation. I guess they were causing quite a scene. She said the mother of the child that had died got up and said them, “Ladies, you need to pull yourselves together.” Yes, she was devastated too, but she had strength that the other women did not. Why? Because God gave her the grace to walk through it.
We can also see this in the Bible with our friend, Paul. Paul went through it all… stonings, beatings, shipwrecks, imprisonment, and eventually execution. However, in one of his times in prison, he penned the following words, “Now what I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” (Phil. 1:12) I don’t know about you, but if I was stuck in prison (simply because I wasn’t liked) I would be feeling devastated. I would be feeling sorry for myself and throwing myself the world’s biggest pity party. I probably wouldn’t feel much like praising Jesus for my chains and I certainly wouldn’t be thinking that I was there to bring glory to Him.
How did Paul get such supernatural strength? Grace. God unloaded a dump truck full of grace right in Paul’s lap to enable him to get through his situation. Not just enough to “get through” it but to triumph through it.
Jesus gave Paul these words, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9) Paul knew that no matter what he faced; weakness, obstacle, tragedy, sickness, etc. God’s grace was sufficient. God’s grace alone would be what got him through. And he knew that God would give him enough grace to cause him to triumph and give God the glory.
I was thinking about all of this because after my post about losing my job (on top of my foreclosure post) I got a bunch of texts, emails, phone calls, and cards from several different friends. (Which is why I said last week that I really, really love my friends. Really.) I started thinking, I should probably be more upset about this, judging by the amount of people who are reaching out to me. And then I started psycho-analyzing myself… Am I stuffing feelings? Am I shutting down? What is going on here?
And then I realized… God’s grace! He has given me the grace, the supernatural strength, to get through my circumstances. Yes, I get overwhelmed at times. Yes, there are days that I am completely frustrated and stressed out about our situation. But, overall, I feel a peace that God is going to take care of us, as He always has. I know with confidence that He has a plan for me and my family that is better than anything I can imagine on my own. My job is to keep my eyes on Him. As long as I do, He gives me just enough grace to walk in front of it all.
All I have to do is trust Him. He’s got the rest. He’s told me so, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Cor. 9:8)