Friday, December 21, 2012

Finding Grace

Image Courtesy of sharinggodsgrace.org
Finding Grace (Image Courtesy of sharinggodsgrace.org)

I had a conversation with a friend about my post last week (Seeing Grace).

[Friend] Where is the grace there?

[Friend] Is God graceful to those (salmon) who succeed to jump upstream?

[Me] When you fully understand grace, you realize that no matter what happens in life to me, God still loves me.

[Friend] God loves you! How do you know that?

[Me] The point I am trying to make is that if I look at God solely on the basis of how he blesses me with things or protects me from harm, I don't understand the necessity of having a meaningful relationship with God.

How do I know God loves me? Because He says he loves me. That alone is enough for me to trust His word.

Good doesn't happen to the most intelligent, or beautiful, or the better race, ethnicity or religious group. God is sovereign so there is nothing I can do to influence him to benefit me. If God chooses to bless my life, it is not because I am better; it is because he chooses to.

The children who were shot today, who sinned; them or their parents?

Could He have intervened? If that is what He wanted to do, but when things occur outside my level of expectation or understanding, I remind myself of that truth. I believe that "all things work together for good", so no matter what happens in my life, God is not shocked, surprised, or caught off guard. He will use circumstances in my life (whatever they may be) to bring about a greater purpose. I cannot see what He sees, so I may not understand why something happened. I may not have wanted it to happen. But I have a choice to trust that He will use it for my good.

[Friend] Do you see Him as .....as somebody out there who protects you from any harm?

[Me] Do you remember the biblical story of the 3 Hebrew boys thrown into the furnace?

[Friend] Yes, a little.

[Me] Do you remember what they said to the king who threatened them if they refused to worship his image?

[Friend] No, I don't remember.

[Me] Nebuchadnezzar was king of all Babylon. He commissioned a statue to be made in his image. And every day when the trumpets sounded, everyone in all Babylon was required to get on their knees and bow in the direction of his statue. Anyone who did not obey would suffer execution by being burned alive in a furnace. When he was informed about the 3 Hebrews, he ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than normal. He then had them brought before him and he asked them:

When I throw you into that furnace do you think your God can save you then?

One of the Hebrews spoke up and said:

Our God is able to save us, but even if He doesn't, we will not exchange our trust in the Living God for an image of you!

So to answer your question, “Do you see Him as .....as somebody out there who protects you from any harm?

I would say, whether God protects me from harm or doesn't isn't relevant to whether I choose to trust Him with my life. Things happen in my life, both good and bad, but I will not waver in my belief that God loves me.

The question I asked earlier about who sinned is how humans tend to look at tragedy. When a woman is raped, the rapist will be defended by the premise that the woman somehow was at fault. The men who killed those children today, maybe they have families, parents, a wife, possibly children. Each of them having a relationship with the murderers will be faced with the question of guilt. But they did nothing wrong. Only those who choose to do evil are wrong. In the mind of all evil doers, there are always valid reasons to do what they do, but reasons why do not matter, in the end, innocent lives were still stolen.

But even in this tragedy, God can use it for the greater good, if we choose to learn from it. Knowing what it's like to see a life stolen by another human, my prayers are extended to those in Connecticut affected by last week's tragedy. It is a very difficult road to travel when a parent outlives their child. My mother has outlived two sons (one from childhood illness and the other murdered), but faith in God's love carries her on the road to heaven. For now, she remains alive with a purpose. She will go to them one day as I believe I too will see them again. But for now, in this moment of pain, sorrow, and sadness, I will look to the hills where my help comes; my help comes from the Lord!

I pray that many of us in this country see that tragedy is the price we must pay, for the right to bear arms. To me, it is a silly notion that we hide behind a statement made hundreds of years ago when this nation fought for freedom from tyranny. Where is tyranny today? It is in the minds of those who manufacture weapons in this country. It is in the minds of those who sell weapons to individuals who are irresponsible citizens. It is in the minds of those who do not comprehend the meaning of love, grace, and peace. It is in the minds of those who will come out and say, “Guns don't kill, people kill”.

What will it take for us to see the need to demonstrate Christ in our lives? If any man comes after me, he must first deny himself. Why would Christ say, I must first deny myself? Deny myself of what?

It is not a question of “what” but “whom”. I must deny myself of “me”. I want to please “me” above pleasing God. This is what grace reveals, my utter selfishness. But the bible wants each of us to learn of a more excellent way, the way of grace. My life needs to be encompassed with the grace given me by God.

Finding grace is not so difficult. Otherwise Christ would not have said, “Ask and it shall be given, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.” Finding grace (even in the midst of tragedy) is not difficult. All I need to do is open my eyes.


A Note of Thanks: I would just like to say that I appreciate each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. Taking time out of your schedule to read a post on this blog is encouraging to me. Many of those who visit, will from time to time leave a comment. Whether a comment is left is not important. What is important, is that you came. I do hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Chist in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

by MTJ

Spiritual Sunday'sNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).

2 comments:

Lill said...

Clearly, there are times when we have to trust Him, even when we can't seem to trace Him...but His Grace is always abounding, never wavering, and works forever for our good. Thanks for the reminder

Rozalija said...

Where does grace come from? From out there and we just have to ask for it? I think grace comes from people, from somebody special who is in contact with God on daily basis. You only have to open your heart to that special one and believe. He will ask God for grace I need, as long as I get strong enough and pray for grace myself. Or, what I prefer, I will receive grace from the special one as air, breath, mouth to mouth,as blessing and message transported to the highway where only grace is needed.