I have been thinking a lot about grace recently. Apparently, a (big) life change will lead you down that road.
Three weeks ago, I was dealt an unexpected blow. No, I didn’t see it coming. No, I didn’t know it was being planned. No, I didn’t expect it. But did it break me? No! Because as I sat across from someone who defined me by a self-proclaimed stereotype a long time ago and refused to let it go, I was overwhelmed by God’s grace. I immediately saw the hand of God on my life and realized God was at work to remove me – with blessings – from a situation that had never been healthy for me. And internally I smiled and praised, because God’s grace produced such peace in me. I was good – no, I was great – in the middle of this sudden life twist. How? Because God reassured me He is with me (always) and was closing out this season according to His purpose. And I have the hope that He was already working out the new season of His plans for me.
God’s grace was at it always is – present, peace-full, and perpetual.
Man’s grace, however, once again showed up for what it often is – judgmental, contrary, and specifically limited.
And as I think about my recent days and ponder people versus God when it comes to grace, it becomes abundantly clear that while God’s grace is readily available, man’s is not. And rarely will man be so carefree with his grace as God is.
Because we as humans feel like we cannot freely give grace.
We have to hoard it.
We have to withhold it.
We refuse to give it.
We dole it out in portions that satisfy us and our stereotypes.
So freely we take grace from God. Yet so easily we refuse to give it to others.
Why do we choose to be caustic, cautious, careful, and casual about giving grace? Is it because we sit in judgment of people based on our goodness and standards? Is it because we are fearful God will punish us or won’t “refill” us for giving away what He gave us? Or is it because we are drawn to disobedience and going our own way?
And then I wonder. I wonder how someone can look you in the eye and call you worthless, no matter how hard you work. Judge you as trouble, no matter what the evidence says to the contrary. Allow someone to yell at and revile you publicly (and loudly) without consequence. And all the while unapologetically demanding respect – and grace – in return.
And through it all, I am really expected to extend grace? YES. Because God extends grace to me. When I least deserve it. When I’m at my worst. When I could care less who I hurt.
God is never like man with grace. He’s never cautious or hesitant. He’s never careful. He’s never casual. He’s never caustic.
He gives grace freely and fully.
When we ask.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
We can come without hesitation, without fear, and without shame to His “throne of grace”, to find the freedom and healing we need – whether we have withheld grace or had grace withheld.
So will you be humble enough today to seek and ask God for the grace you need?
Marie Fremin. 5/19/18 and 6/7/18