Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The View from Here

Man, does the view of grace look different from here. Not that it should've looked different before, but the view on this side is a whole lot sweeter to me. It's similar to climbing a mountain. Once you can look back and see all the things that you battled on the way, things look different on the other side. Not that I have ever nor would I ever climb a literal mountain. But I know a few who have. I have climbed many the metaphorical mountain. I'm quite certain I am still climbing but I have reached a resting place for just a moment. If only for today, I'm resting. 

When you are in the middle of the mountain or even still at the bottom, its easy to think we know what to do. It's easy to suggest to others what they should do. We think we know what to tell others about how to climb their mountain. Which is interesting when they are climbing an entirely different mountain and have no experience in the particular one someone else is climbing. I know I have done it. In my stupidity and my ability to think I have things all figured out, I have done it. But once I get to the other side, I find myself realizing how little about ANY of it I knew in the first place. 

I did something not too long ago that I had never done before and truthfully thought I could not do. I spoke to a few friends who had done it because I kept thinking, "How did I get here?" Now what I'm talking about for this brief moment, was nothing bad at all. It was something actually God had been preparing me for but I thought it would only apply to others. I thought that I would learn things, of course, but I would never ultimately have to do THAT! Men make plans and God laughs. He must laugh at me a lot. I am probably equivalent to a great comedienne to Him. As I was preparing for my hill along the way, I was kinda irritated at the people that told me to do it. Why do I let people talk me into things? Then the words of Mordecai to Esther, "Who knows but that you were born for such a time as this?" Why do I think that God would give me things and then say, "No, no dear. Don't share those with anyone. They are just for you."

So for such a time as this, Lord let me show mercy. Let me show grace. I know how they feel when You have shown them to me and I'm so grateful. So, as a dear friend of mine puts it, let me get out of mercy's way. Let me never be a hinderance to broken soul in need. Use me Lord and give me words to say. Those who have had mercy and grace extended to them are much quicker to extend it to others. 

Romans 5:1-11 of the Message puts it in terms that resonate with me. 

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that He has already thrown open His door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn't, and doesn't, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of His Son, now that we're at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of His resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!