Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Washed White As Snow

Do you ever find that grace is hard to comprehend, especially the grace of God? Have you ever struggled not to view yourself as the blackest and most vile of sinners even after salvation? Someone whom God has slopped the white paint of His grace over, much like someone slopping white paint on a black wall, trying to hide the darkness but failing so that blackness peeks through and shadows the white. You see yourself as though you are only a partly covered by His grace, but underneath is your pitch black soul. You think, but how could He love me, does He not see my sin, my worthlessness and failings? You fight this idea of grace, freely given, that washes you bleached white. Grace that is not poorly covering your sin, but grace that has washed it all away as totally as bleach washes your mother's sheets crisp and spotless white.
"But how could anyone love me that much if they really knew what I am?"
This is the mystery, the greatness, that has left generations in awe. There is no human reasoning that could explain a love like His. A love that sees, not passed our sin, but sees us as though we had never sinned. Who does not see us as we once were, but as we never can be on earth, sinless, flawless, perfect.
There is nothing we can do to attain this perfection in His eyes. No number of works or words. It is the amazing grace extended to us, the righteousness of His own Son.
"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

For This Too, Will I Trust

Sometimes living in the past holds an appeal. You wish you could go back and be there again. "But, why?" I asked myself. "Is it the appeal of knowing what happened already and knowing that there would not be any surprises? Or at least, not surprises in a bad way."
I pause. I sit back. I play the past through my head. It is like an old friend. I know the twists and turns it will take. It is sweetly familiar. I smile.
My mind turns again to the question at hand and I look deep at the future. It is filled with possibilities. It is like lump of clay that could be molded in one of thousands of ways before being painted, textured, fired in another thousand ways. It has endless possibilities, but until the artist begins to mold and make, it is just a lifeless lump of nothingness. It has no beauty. No shape. Only the artist knows what it will be and what processes it will go through to arrive at that more refined and beautiful shape.
Life is like that. We look forward and see a thousand possibilities, and a thousand ways to get to them. We do not know what the end of our life will look like, when we will reach it, or what processes we will go through to reach that, hopefully, more refined, sanctified, and beautiful imitation of our Savor. Until the Artist has finished His working on and within our lives, we cannot guess at the outcome. We can pray for and work towards a desired oneness with Him, but only by the workings of His grace in us will we reach such a desired end.
"Yes, perhaps," I mused. "Perhaps this is the appeal in the past. We know the outcome because we have already reach it. The future stands before us nameless and shapeless and it requires trust."
Trust. How hard it is to trust. And yet, as Ann Voskamp states in her memorable way in One Thousand Gifts, "If God didn't withhold from us His very own Son, will God withhold anything we need?"
He has already fulfilled our biggest need. Eradicated our biggest need of fear. Why is it then that we do not trust? Why is it that we are tempted to wish ourselves back in time, standing in trembling fear of what lies ahead? Why do we doubt the One who has already been more faithful than we could ever be? More loving, kind, and merciful that we could ever deserve?
I pause. I look into the brilliant display of evening colors and my heart sings. Wordless praise flows forth to the One who holds my tomorrow. It is like reaching forth to place my hand once more in the work-worn hand of the Master artist. A pray whispers forth from my lips, "Lord, make me more like You. Mold me more and more into your likeness with each passing hour."
"But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay,
and thou our potter; and we all are the
work of thy hand."
~ Isaiah 64:8

"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to
sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and they faithfulness every night." ~ Psalm 92:1-2