I grew up as a “Christian” – I believed in Jesus, because that’s what my mom told me. By the time I was 13, the idea of a God creating me was appealing, and I chose to love him. By 17, I could no longer live up to his standard, so I turned away from him. Finally, I met my husband and got married, and we found a church together and started taking Jesus and life seriously.
I thought by then, I had it down.
Then my world was rocked just a little bit, and over a couple of years I slipped away. How could a God who loves me not let me have children? I went to church and was involved regularly. I was mostly good, and where I wasn’t, I knew I was only human and needed God for that very reason. I believed he’d forgiven me for my rebellion in my teen years, so it wasn’t that either. So it must be that he wasn’t anything I believed him to be.
I felt I wasn’t good enough – I wasn’t serious enough about church, I wasn’t doing enough quiet time, I wasn’t ready to go up into Africa to give my life for him. That must be why. Everyone at church was perfect and happy, and life just seemed like one big lie.
Truthfully, I was only lying to myself and misunderstood grace completely.
I believed the love and adoration of this Jesus needed to be earned, and I had to achieve certain things to be worthy enough. Even after all the years in my church hearing about Jesus, learning about Jesus and even TEACHING about Jesus I did not get it!
The love for us, from God, is there – it always was and it always will be. We cannot earn it; we cannot lose it.
We think we need to be good enough, but no matter what we do, we aren’t – but he loves us anyway.
We fail him daily with our thoughts and actions, big and small – but he still loves us.
There is always someone much worse, and there is always someone much better – but he loves us all the same.
How can we do anything but adore and serve this awesome God who loves us so much? He never promised us sunshine and no rain. Never ever ever. In fact he says:
In this world you will have troubles… But take heart!
I have overcome the world!
So what is grace then? What is happening when prayers aren’t answered and tragedy strikes? It’s life, but Jesus is right beside us holding our hands and drying our tears, because he loves us. That is Grace.
And when we embrace it, we have a promise of eternity with God. All the pain will be gone.
You see, I thought I could earn favour with God by doing the right things, but I can’t! It’s impossible. It’s already there, and I just needed to accept it. The the pain is now bearable, I feel less alone, and I have eternity to look forward to.
That is grace.