When the Grace of God Appears, It Was All I Needed
Anxiously I waited for the arrival. Every day I waited, hoping someone would show up bringing that for which I had so long awaited. My hopes were at first high but as the days progressed they began to fade. When, I wondered will it arrive?
I wasn’t sure in what form it would appear. Would it come in the form of a pastor who in a nice shiny suit would deliver it with clergical fanfare? Would it appear in the form of a friend who would deliver it with gentle care? Would it be a total stranger who would knock on my door and surprise me with that for which I had been waiting? I did not know but I knew I was anxious for it to arrive.
Each day brought more desperation and my hopes diminished when it failed to appear. My heart was heavy. Was there no hope for me? Refuge had failed me and it seemed that no man cared for my soul. Some days I despaired and other days I found renewed hope. At desperate moments my emotions overwhelmed me with sorrow and sometimes my hurt anger would overflow on those around me. When would my restoration arrive?
The fall had left me bruised and battered and I was told that there would be relief ahead. However, it had not come and with each day that passed I felt one day closer to giving up hope. Occasionally someone would come and I would hope they were delivering it, but alas they were empty handed and left me as shattered as before. Occasionally they would even deliver another blow that further diminished my condition. Hope was fading fast. I quit looking as much as I once had. Days would go by without hope or relief.
I was not even sure what it would look like or how it would work in my life when it did arrive but I didn’t care. I just knew I needed it to come and someone needed to bring it soon.
One day I cried out to God in despair, “Oh, God where is my hope, where is my deliverance?”
In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me. Psalm 120:1
I did not hear an audible voice and no one appeared to me, but I felt someone come along beside my desperate soul and I heard a still small voice whisper within me. The words were soft but as powerful as a scalpel performing surgery within me. I heard, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men...But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,” Titus 2:11; 3:4.
But what does it mean, I wondered. Then as if the Holy Spirit of God Himself spoke to me and I became aware of the truth that would begin the restoration for which my soul so desperately had waited. “That for which you have been waiting arrived long ago. It was labeled, the grace of God that bringeth salvation. It had arrived when, as a small boy broken by the realization of your sin you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior. It never left”
But my mind argued, “That was then, but this is now. That was different. I was accepting that grace for my soul’s salvation. How can that help me now? I know that I was saved by grace but what I need is something more now,” I argued. “I failed the grace that I received back then. What good does it do me now?”
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. II Corinthians 12:9
Was this really that for what I had awaited? Was this where the restoration began? I thought it would come from a church, a pastor, a friend or even a Godly stranger, but they could only bring me back to a place or a position. They could not bring me back to a relationship, nor could they bring me back to the comfort and peace I had lost. His faithfulness was not based upon my faithfulness. It was based upon his endless mercy and eternal faithfulness.
It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22, 23
His grace was not just bestowed once upon that young broken hearted boy who wanted to be saved. That was just the beginning of an eternity of His grace. Every good thing I would ever need would be an extension of that grace. Each time I failed Him the same grace that saved me was already delivered to forgive and restore me. “Stop trying to find your way back to me and accept that I never left you and my grace never wavered,” He seemed to say.
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:7
Then an amazing thought overwhelmed me. God does not ask that we grow in faith. He asks that we grow in grace and in His knowledge. If I try within myself to know my weaknesses and change myself I am destined to fail. If instead, I grow in the grace He has bestowed upon me He would bestow more grace to me so that I could know Him more.
And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. John 1:16
Truly His grace was all I need. What I had been waiting for had been there all along but I was so filled with MY guilt, with MY pain, with MY sadness, with MY loss that I had ignored HIS love, HIS mercy, HIS forgiveness, HIS grace. My focus was on my failures instead of his faithfulness. I awoke every morning next to brand new compassion. Think of that. Every morning as the manna from Heaven that fell for the children of Israel a new supply of compassion is waiting for me to renew and restore me for another day. I was sitting in His garden of grace all along but could not see the morning buds of His compassion.
Yet, still I doubted and thus ensued my argument with God.
Father, my sins overtook me and I fell so tragically.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Lord, I have lost hope in myself.
Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace... (II Thessalonians 2:16)
God I need someone to reestablish me.
For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; (Hebrews 13:9)
But God I am weak and my life is so unsettled.
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (1 Peter 5:10)
Lord, I feel I have nothing to offer you. I am so empty and poor.
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)
I want to serve you Father but what good is left in me?
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Lord, you know that sin has ruled me for so long.
That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:21
I am just not good enough to ever be worthy again.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5-7)
Father people say I am not worthy to live after all I did to fail you.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)
Finally, exasperated, I threw out my last argument to God. Lord, how can I ever earn your forgiveness.
But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. (Romans 5:15)
My arguments had ended and I had nothing I could think of to say. GRACE appeared. It had appeared in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, Who became all I could need or want to deal with the needs and even the failures of my life. Why did I wait so long? Why did I think I could only find it through another’s kindness? Why is it that we can accept it so easily for Salvation yet not for restoration? After all... “...where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” (Romans 5:20)
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