On the Other Side of Grace
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I have been part of a church all my life. I’m talking about every Sunday, Tuesday night, Friday night, and selling donuts as a church fundraiser on Saturdays. I remember Sundays being so uplifting and charismatic that there would be foot-stomping, hand-clapping, and people feeling so good in their souls that they would dance up and down the aisle.
I belonged to the kind of church where you could always expect a good, hardy meal after the service. The kind where the older women, whom we called the “mothers” of the church, would pray and tarry with you until you broke through whatever it was that had you bound. The mothers would be at the altar on bent knees praying for the atmosphere in the building to be spiritually charged and Holy Ghost-filled. They prayed so fervently that no one could leave without a touch from the Father. They knew the assignment—to do all that they could to intercede for those who were lost. They were usually soft-spoken yet outspoken, gentle when touching but fiercely aggressive in the Spirit. You could share your pain with them, and they would understand in an indescribable and grace-filled way. I would often ask myself as a young woman, how is it that they are so gracious?
And after three decades and two years of living, I finally understand. It was because they themselves knew what it was like to be on the other side of grace.
When we are given grace, we learn how to show grace. “There was a time not so long ago when you were on the outs with God... Now they are on the outs. But with the door held wide open for you, they have a way back in. In one way or another, God makes sure that we all experience what it means to be outside so that he can personally open the door and welcome us back in.” (Romans 11:30-32, MSG)
The wisdom of God is impeccable. Had it not been for God personally welcoming the mothers of the church back in, extending grace to them for their past sins and mistakes, they would not have been as diligent and impactful for others—like me—today. I remember them singing passionately the words look where He brought me from and songs like I once was lost, but now I’m found... was blind but now I see. That describes how amazing grace really is.
Grace leaves no explanation to anyone. It has its own introduction to our lives. It makes the unlikely, likely, and those who are hopeless, hopeful! “From your point of view as you hear and embrace the good news of the Message, it looks like the Jews are God’s enemies. But looked at from the long-range perspective of God’s overall purpose, they remain God’s oldest friends. God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded.” (Romans 11:29) The grace shown in our lives is purposeful for our call and it is grace that makes us all worthy.
“Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It's way over our heads. We'll never figure it out.” (Romans 11:33) We'll never understand why He loves us so!
Father, show us how to be daily examples of Your grace and mercy towards one another. For we believe that everything comes from You; everything happens through You; everything ends up in You. Always glory! Always praise! (Romans 11:36)
Lord, we say yes!
Scripture quotations are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
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