Thursday, April 21, 2011
Grace on a Thursday: Favor
I am sitting somewhat paralyzed tonight in front of my screen.
How do I begin to write my Grace on a Thursday post for the day before Good Friday? Broaching the subject of a death-on-a-cross level of grace feels like trying to harness a hurricane with a butterfly net.
Grace, when you begin to really understand it, is so powerful and shocking. I've heard many define grace as "unmerited favor." Unmerited, indeed. Jesus died for me, and yet I provoke Him, I grieve Him, I plain ignore Him.
And His favor is still crazy all over me, pressing into every corner of my soul.
I spent about twenty years as a believer in Jesus before I felt it, though. That's a long time. In the last couple of years, when I went through my hardest days yet, my eyes opened to more of His favor than I'd ever known. I can guarantee you it was not because of anything I was or did. In fact, it was the opposite. I was completely broken. I was stopped in my tracks, not sure of what the next day held, and afraid to ask. That, my friends, is precisely where I needed to be: exposed and needy.
It wasn't as if I then felt sprinkled with love. I was overwhelmed. God's favor washed and poured over my spirit for no reason other than that I was His. I was broken, helpless, and finally able to hear how altogether lovely I was to Him. Lovely because He made me and loved me, exactly where I was, and exactly who I was.
Letting go of my striving and self-sufficiency (since it had all failed anyway) is what allowed me to feel gathered up, filled up, and really loved in a way no other person can love you. That's grace, the only way I know how to describe it.
Today, I really hope you know that Easter - Jesus dying on the cross (which threatens to roll off the tongue all too familiar and devoid of meaning) - is because His favor is crazy all over you. No matter what, that's the truth. He died because He couldn't stand to live another day without providing a way to heal up your relationship with Him. If you've never deeply felt His favor for you, then ask Him to show you. He so wants to show you. His favor is the whole point, and that's where so many get it wrong.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
He keeps drawing me with that kindness. No matter what I do to mess things up, God is relentlessly kind to me. I don't mean in my circumstances, but in the deepest part of my heart, the part that needs it so badly. Grace on a Thursday, this week, will turn into a throat swelling, wordless, and probably teary gratitude at church Friday night. I can feel it coming. I'll wear the waterproof mascara.
Love you all. Really I do.