Monday, August 22, 2011

Grace Delivered

Why, so often, do difficult times surround us before we appreciate and tenderly caress the immense blessings we have at our fingertips? 

Sometimes life knocks us off of our feet when death and unexpected events capture us without warning.  Sometimes the hurt is so deep and painful that we feel nothing other than numbness.  And when we are in our weakest moment, we melt into the waiting arms of Christ, immediately overwhelemed with His strength, love, compassion, peace, and presence.  He is great when we are weak.  He is the Prince of Peace.  He is mighty to save.  He has overcome the world. 

Through eucharisteo, I have learned to draw near to God by responding with praise and a grateful heart when things are going along smoothly.  In doing so, I have discovered how important gratitude is to entering into His Presence. When hard times come, I also recognize my need and dependence on Christ.  How can anyone get through life, the blissfully wonderful everything-is-perfect-days, and the days when sorrow crushes you to the bone, without the peace and hope offered freely to us by our Heavenly Father?  I am so thankful to have fallen in love with a God who I realize I cannot get through one day without.  The good, the bad, the in-between.  I desperately need  Him.  He intensely longs for me.  What a perfect relationship.

I am comforted by Ann Voskamp's insight that new life always comes from dark places.  She explains, "That fullest life itself dawns from nothing but Calvary darkness and tomb-cave black into the radiance of Easter morning.  Out of darkness of the cross, the world transfigures into new life."  And later, "It is suffering that has the realest possibility to bear down and deliver grace.  And grace that chooses to bear the cross of suffering overcomes that suffering."  "...And emptiness itself can birth the fullness of grace because in the emptiness we have the opportunity to turn to God, the only begetter of grace, and there find all the fullness of joy."

She continues, "Darkness transfigures into light, bad transfigures into good, grief transfigures into grace, empty transfigures into full.  God wastes nothing - 'makes everything work out according to his plan.' (Ephesians 1:11)."

I see it now.  Despite the throb, the sting deep within, I am witnessing a miracle of grace.  Grace that started with the cross and continues because of the cross.  All because of Jesus.  Emptiness into fullness.  Darkness into light.  Bad into good.

How I love Ann's words.  This truth is not easy, but it is just that - truth.  "Because eucharisteo is how Jesus, at the Last Supper, showed us to transfigure all things - take the pain that is given, give thanks for it, and transform it into a joy that fulfills all emptiness.  I have glimpsed it: This, the hard eucharisteo.  The hard discipline to lean into the ugly and whisper thanks to transfigure it into beauty.  The hard discipline to give thanks for all things at all times because He is all good.  The hard discipline to number the griefs as grace.  ...All is grace only because all can transfigure."

Counting gifts continued...
486. Witnessing sorrow transfigure into grace


Zephaniah 3:17 - "The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

Isaiah 46:4b - "I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you."

1 comment:

  1. Happy to have found your blog through aholyexperience. We seem to have started blogging for the same kind of reason ... and your words today rings so true to me!
    Thank you for sharing!