Thursday, September 1, 2011
You may be spending a little more time with God these days than you ever expected you’d have to. Desperation seems to do that . . . draw you near to God. When we’re down, with nowhere to look but up, we find God’s Word to be true: “all things work together for good for those who love Him.” (Romans 8:28) We come to grasp that “ALL things” includes those things that contribute to our temporary despair.
In His presence, you may find peace, but more often you’ll feel desolate in an endless desert of unanswered questions. At times, your burdens will seem to only get heavier at His throne, not lighter. You will find yourself feeling severely dehydrated, when you’re sure that God promised you would never thirst. (John 4:14) And while you’re drowning in despair, God’s only reply to you after pouring out your heart and soul in anguish may be, “Trust me, My grace is sufficient for you . . . it is enough.” When we’ve had it with life and we’re shouting at the heavens, “Enough is enough!” . . . God’s voice pierces our soul: “Exactly! I give you My grace which is “enough” . . . it’s all you need. Enough IS Enough!” (Frustrated, we realize that we’re obviously having a communication problem with heaven . . . the clouds must be getting in the way!)
Our prayers can seem trivial in times of pain, suffering, and overwhelming uncertainty. And when God isn’t giving us the answers we seek, our faith tends to waiver, or all out fail. We came to God for a life changing “Yes” and “I’ll do it right now.” But, what we leave with is a “Not yet” or even an all out “No.” He sends us away with “grace” . . . which hardly seems “sufficient.” Grace doesn’t pay the bills, heal the sick, or rescue us out of an abusive situation. (or so we think) Quite frankly, we’re convinced that if grace was worth anything in the first place we wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in. But our ways are not His. His ways are so much higher. (Isaiah 55:9) We ask to be rescued, but God wants us to experience what it’s like to have Him take our hand and walk with Him through the deepest, darkest, and most desolate valleys in life. He wants us to experience the fullness of who He is in our emptiness. He’s giving us something so much more valuable than what we want . . . He’s bringing us to a place of receiving all that He gives.
When we come seeking God’s face, He embraces us with His grace. And grace may not eliminate your pain and suffering, but it will consume it with a power far greater than anything in this world. Grace takes a sorrowful soul and fills it with a joy that cannot be taken away. In the depths of your pain, you will find pleasure in the smallest pieces of life. In the midst of your brokenness, God’s grace will never make you feel more whole. Although you will face ongoing moments of weakness, it is grace that fills you with strength that surpasses anyone’s understanding. Though your soul is dying, grace renews your spirit and you become more alive. When you understand God’s grace, you realize that those things you once viewed as mutually exclusive—sorrow and joy, pain and pleasure, death and life, fear and security, abandonment and comfort—are parts of a greater whole. It’s your soul that is being stretched and it’s grace that is causing your flesh to die and your spirit to soar.
Through your most trying circumstances, something marvelous is happening: you are becoming more aware of the power of God’s grace and your need for it. He’s working a miracle within you . . . He’s allowing you to be emptied out, so that He can fill you with Himself. And He does it all by His grace alone.
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