Saturday, June 22, 2013

Lens of Grace

A few weeks ago- actually on the Sunday of the boys' baptism- I had a shock in church.  It seems that during the week, a member had passed away.  I guess I must have fallen off the church email list or something, because, though I had heard that she had been hospitalized and that her cancer might not be as under control as they had hoped, I had no idea that it was that bad.

I was stunned.  I would like to say that I felt deeply saddened as I remembered how this woman, a fellow widow, had reached out to me during some of my darkest hours.  That came later, but first, I got angry.  "It's not fair!" was my emphatic protest.  See, this lady had a daughter- a high schooler.  Now this young lady has been robbed of both of her parents.  And it's not fair.

I found myself thinking, "How is she going to get through this?  She has another year of school.  She needs to go off to college.  This is TERRIBLE!"  And almost immediately, I realized that I was making the same mistake that people make when they look at my situation.  I was looking at the stark reality.  I failed to use the lens of grace.

See, when you're in the midst of a terrible situation, God's grace really is sufficient to sustain you.  Somehow, someway, He carries you through the darkest days.  People looking in from the outside don't know how you keep going.  They just know that if they were in your shoes, they'd collapse from the strain.

But they wouldn't.  They'd be sad, they'd be panicked, they'd be scared, they'd be angry and overwhelmed, but they'd keep going.  And if, after the initial shock wore off, they chose to let the Lord help them, they'd come through it victors.

Knowing this- that God's grace is greatest when we are weakest- gives us a different perspective on life.  Yes, when tragedy strikes our lives are changed forever.  But that doesn't mean that life is over.  It doesn't mean that we have to go through life broken.  It means that God gives us the grace to make the changes that are necessary.  He gives us the grace to heal.  And because of His grace, we can confidently move forward, not perhaps into the life we had planned for ourselves, but into the life that has been chosen for us.

I am comforted to know that this young lady is part of a church that specializes in being instruments of God's grace to the people who need it most.  She won't have to go through this alone, and I believe, looking through the lens of grace, that she can emerge from this a strong and vibrant woman, a living testament to the One who sustains her.

"So now...I commend you to God
and to the word of His grace,
which is able to build you up 
and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified."
Acts 20:32

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