What if we woke each morning to an expectation of faithfulness? Would it change the way you walk through the day? Would it banish the default reactions that testify of less-than-faithful words we let escape in our conversations?
Reading through Psalms I am reminded of heart of the Father in our journey and the reality of our forgetfulness.
Deliver me from all my transgressions; make me not the scorn and reproach of the self-confidant fool;… Remove your stroke from me; I am spent (consumed) by the conflict….Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not Your peace at my tears! For I am your passing guest, a temporary resident, as all my fathers were before me.” – Psalm 39:8,10, 11
It brought to mind conversations with my children, words that were a sermon to my own soul, of letting our hearts breathe in grace and breathe out faith and letting mercy win, of acting with justice and loving mercy’s medicine and stepping with humility as we go.
He has shown you what is good: and what does the Lord require of you: to do what is right, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8
It’s hard to see faithfulness as the anthem when unfairness clouds our judgment and accusations flood our hearing.
But God is always faithful. No matter what we feel.
He has a plan and He has a purpose in the wrestling and the messy middles we find ourselves walking through. He even has a plan for the unfair moments that are not of our own doing but still find ourselves wading in, because we are in the middle of the journey till we meet His perfection at our end.
We are still in the midst of the temporal chaos till we are completed in Christ. And everything is an opportunity to see His faithfulness hard at work.
God meets us in these moments and we have a chance to choose grace there. His Spirit draws from the deep places a melody of hope in the midst of what feels wrong, where we want to defend ourselves and rant against the confessions of one another so that our name is not ravaged by the world. And all those things seem futile when we understand the brevity of our existence here… but we don’t always see it when our souls are weary and waiting.
Conflict breaks me down like nothing else. I don’t do confrontation well. And I miss the beauty that confronting grace can bring when I forget that God is in the midst of all we move in, even the messy middle spaces.
I know that the Gospel is confrontational, but never feel adequate to handle the heart of a contention as it looms before me. The need to retreat outweighs a rebuke and I find I apologize more than I need to. I’ve been watching my children do the same. And today when my daughter confronted me with a very reasonable question about fairness and being right and in the midst of wrong, I had to draw on those self-sermons and those psalm revelations and the #gracemoment gathering I have been walking through myself.
And you know what? Sometimes doing the right thing doesn’t ever make any sense.
And the conflict of doing the right thing when our hearts are not convinced that the right thing is grace breaks our will to relate to others and it can ruin a relationship from within.
But her questions opened the door to a conversation that needed to be played out. It provided the impetus to usher grace into our moment by way of the Cross and the purpose of forgiveness…which isn’t about letting people off the hook as much as it is letting God heal the need in our soul for retribution.
The truth is that we are all hammering nails in the hands of our people with our weapons of words and our arsenal of wounds. We carry around the breaking in our own skin, looking for new hope to pour in and break all over the place because we have yet to be fully repaired by His grace.
We learn to expect the unacceptable and we forget that we have been loved when we were unlovable ourselves. We have a faithless dementia that steals truth out of our hearts and alters our understanding by warped reasoning. And until we learn how to love one another by loving God first, we make a lot of mistakes with one another. Sometimes we wound one another without meaning to. And sometimes we just need to learn to say we are sorry whether or not we feel like it
What if our expectations were based on a different standard? You know, like the kind that sings joy into our situations and weaves hope in spite of the deficiencies we all carry.
To excuse what can really produce good excuses is not Christian charity; it is only fairness. To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life – to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son – how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it means to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says. – CS Lewis, The Weight of Glory
Liberal hope leads to expectant faith.
It seems appropriate we are talking about the need to be humble with one another, to grow grace in our souls and loose it liberally. This day that we remember Christ being arrested and bruised for our iniquities.(Is. 53:5) Understanding His forgiveness in light of His suffering is a conflicting truth on my soul. What He did for us… what He paid for our sin…there is nothing I can do to repay it.
And He only asks us to believe. To come to Him and to trust and to accept that He alone is the way, the truth, the life. ( Jn14:6) Because His way is best, the way of forgiveness and love and grace and mercy, and it is loaded with expectant hope and faithful redemption
Faithful is He that calls you, who will fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you. – 1 Thes. 5:24
As we talked about the real deal… the way our wrung out hearts long to see justice through veiled eyes, a light dawned and reality started to settle close. We have a way about us that we think is right, don’t we? One that allows us to set rigid rules and appoint paradigms of justice when all we are really doing is limiting grace and hemming in mercy.
But that is not what He is doing in us in those difficult moments when we are separating our need to excuse and our confession of clemency. He is teaching us to come to the Cross, to stand at the mercy-seat and plead grace. It is a rending of self, a consuming endeavor to spill out all that is not of Him within us and replace it with all He spilled out for us.
Forgiveness… grace… mercy… they are the antidote to the conflict we face and the agitator of the kind of hope that always expects faithfulness.
Sometimes we are just in the middle of the story…
We are all the splintered in need of holy healing. There is no one perfectly whole because we all need the radical kindness the grace of God provides. As we follow His lead… to love others because the love of God is shed within… we are the changed. We recognize that our acknowledgment is a way to redeem what is missing. And sometimes it is just the middle of the story.
Sometimes we just need to focus on the Master’s hand, scarred and open, wooing us back. In the messy middle, where nothing makes sense, where we have forgotten the vision of the beginning and can’t see the resolution of the end, we make a lot of mistakes and we fail a lot of times.
But God makes miracles out of impossibility. He has already planned for a way of grace in the hard and the difficult parts of our journey. He is the way. He is always faithful. He is calling you to walk out grace.
Because thank God the end of the story didn’t come when Jesus was arrested and on trial and hung on a cross unfairly. Thank God death was swallowed up in the Resurrection of the Sinless One who died for us all bargaining forgiveness with the Father for those who could not atone for their penalty on their own.
And since the story is being written from the perspective of the Cross and we can let go of those things that leave us wrung out by life. And then instead we have the chance grab on to grace, with the full intention to give it liberally expecting faith to grow.
May this Easter reveal the power of expectant hope in the faithfulness of the Father through the power of forgiveness and grace.
IT’S YOUR TURN TO BE A GRACE COUNTER! SHARE YOUR GRACE MOMENT IN THE COMMENTS BELOW AND THEN COUNT GRACE WITH A FRIEND WITH COMMENT ON A BLOG OR TWO.
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Take time to visit your neighbor next to you, and if you want visit a few more friends on the journey. We all need a little encouragement and affirmation as we travel together.
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Each week I will try visit as many of your amazing posts as I can.This is a safe place to sit and dwell in grace together, friends. I can’t wait to pour a cup of friendship with you and take in the grace moments you have to share. Don’t forget to leave a comment below, I love to hear from you.