And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV)
The past few years has probably been some of the toughest years of my adult life. I have experienced loss, death of loved ones, heartbreak, disappointment after disappointment, sickness and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. But through it all I learned something by the name of grace. God’s grace that is. I hear people talk about grace so often, but when you truly get to the root of it, do we really know what grace is. In the world, we pick and choose when we want to give others grace, however, God’s grace is given even when we do not deserve it or might not even realize we are receiving it in a particular situation of free will.
Grace has taught me that I am stronger because of every experience I have endured. Grace has taught me there is no need for smoke screens. There is no need to hide out of fear of rejection or fear of being hurt or fear of abuse because it was God’s grace that kept me when I was rejected, when I was fearful, when I was hurt, when I was abused and most of all when I was afraid of doing what was right. Most of us want the glory without the story. Having glory from God comes with a cost. “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:27 NKJV).
Another thing grace has taught me is it’s none of our business what people think about us. We cannot allow other people’s opinions or assumptions distract us from what God has ordained us to do. People will try and discredit you, make you question yourself, and at times make you feel guilty for doing what’s right. You have to remember what the Apostle Paul said in Galatians, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 NIV).
One evening I was in one of my seminary classes and we were having a discussion on shepherding. God spoke through one of the prophets in the class and told them to tell me all He wanted me to do was feed His sheep. The next day I thought about it and realized all this time, I have been doing just that. But in realizing it something else came to me. There will be times when there’s things people may not want to hear even though it is good for them. Think about when you were a child and your parents would say, “Eat your vegetables, they are good for you!” Though you hated those green things on your plate, you knew what was best for you or you would get disciplined for not eating those veggies. It’s the same when God tells or shows a pastor something to encourage someone or show someone where they can do better. Or He may not show or tell the pastor but tell you directly. Are you going to eat the vegetables and become healthier and stronger or reject them and end up getting disciplined? In other words, are you going to listen to what God is saying or will you reject it and get disciplined in the long run? “And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son” (Hebrews 12:5-6 NIV).
If I never write another blog, never finish my first book, never preach another sermon, or encourage another person, one thing I will always know is it was God’s grace that brought me through. Every valley, every tear I cried, every sleepless night, every heartbreak I felt, every pain in my body, every loss, every rejection, every bit of loneliness, every mountaintop experience, every triumph, every mistake that I have made, it is because of God’s grace that I made it.
And that same grace will bring you through.