God’s Grace

I’m thinking today about God’s grace. I’m going to talk about it tomorrow and next week. God’s grace is profound and powerful, yet we all will go through dark valleys. When we do we can give in and stay there or, we can rely upon God’s grace and power to pull us up and out. His grace and mercies are new every day. I heard an incredibly painful story today at a recovery meeting. Yet God is gracious and life has turned to give this person new life in the midst of tragedy. Praise God.

Sometimes our mistakes and struggles have lasting impact. We all know that. This person talked about contributing to the death of another. Some weeks ago I heard a similar story and reconciliation with family members after 40 years.

It doesn’t always work that way. But what we do know is that God is good and that He works for the good of those who love Him. Sometimes we don’t even see it in this life. Yet sometimes we do.

In the midst of my own struggles I prayed for months that I would not lose my faith. It was a hard journey. In my studies of pastoral burnout so much of what happened to me is common, including a struggle with depression and alcohol. I knew God existed but I also knew many pastors in my situation just leave the church and the faith. God has restored me though I continue like everyone to work my way through it all.

I shared this with somebody at the same meeting today. She too had been praying she not lose her faith. It’s a good prayer when you are struggling. It reminds me of the parent who brought his son to Jesus’ disciples in Mark chapter 8. They couldn’t heal him. Jesus comes along and asks that they bring the boy to him. “Have mercy on us and help us, if you can,” said the father. Jesus replied “Anything is possible if a person believes.” Then the father said this profound theological statement, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!” And Jesus casts out the demon and heals the boy.

But I wonder if you’ve ever felt that way. I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief. I know what it is like. The good news is God’s grace is bigger than your unbelief. He will never forsake you or leave you. No matter how bad things are, you can bank on it!

Of course there’s a little more to the story. When Jesus’ disciples asked why they couldn’t drive out the demon Jesus said this kind can come out only by prayer. It’s a long story but there is power in prayer. Get down on your knees and pray, even if it is “please Lord don’t let me lose my faith.” “Or, I do believe Lord, help me overcome my unbelief!”

See you at the Lighthouse,