Grace is one of my favorite words. It’s my mother’s name. It’s my daughter’s middle name (by no coincidence). When talking about a person, grace implies gentleness and beauty and class and ease. It’s also a word that means to be given something very important for no reason except the desire (the grace) of the giver. It has to be unearned.
The last few days have been ones of struggle for me. I haven’t been the person I want to be. I’ve fallen short, sometimes very short, of how I would like to honor and represent Jesus. Honestly, I haven’t been too happy with myself recently. I also have been having a hard time with fear over various issues of the present and future. With all that I have been through and learned, I still find myself worrying, getting caught up in “what ifs”, in worse possible scenarios. I am a creative person with an imagination, and too much time alone to think. The down side of this is that the imagination has no trouble going down the dark road of the next bad thing, and the one after that, and the one after that, until suddenly I am in a desperate, hopeless situation with no escape – one that hasn’t happened yet and probably never will. I tend to spiral downward.
And then there’s grace. Into my heart comes a whisper telling me that I can stay in this darkness of fear, worry, self-recrimination, guilt, and whatever other misery I can cook up for myself, or I can come talk to Jesus about it and be free again. Freedom is pretty amazing. Grace is even more so. Knowing that I can be free of all the junk and garbage without having to do anything but ask and believe is so wonderful, it makes me want even more to make God happy. Not to earn his favor, or to make him love me, (I know he loves me and won’t ever stop no matter what I do) – just to make him happy.
Are all the situations suddenly changed and resolved? Not at all. What is changed is inside of me. That’s what grace does.
Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. Ephesians 1:7-9
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23,24
For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:15