But grace doesn't always feel like that.
I have found that there are many times when I have to go looking for the grace - or I think I do . . . I find myself weary and worn and feeling parched; too far away from where I belong; cut off somehow from the only Source that can sustain me. Sometimes I wander off myself; other times I engage in interactions that, before I know it, have entangled me in such a way that I'm tripping down muddy roads, rolling down thorny hills, and generally making a mess of taking myself the way wrong direction. Sigh . . .
It's funny - for as much as I try not to sigh, I sure do sigh quite a bit. Sometimes it's the best breathing I can manage. Big deep breath, in, In, IN, fight for it - and then? Ooooouuuuuuuuuut in a big, long . . . sigh.
Turns out life can be one big, ongoing temptation to sigh. Frustration, discouragement, straight up rotten circumstances, and Lord knows everybody is some kind of tired.
My little world is rife with difficulty right now: disease, discouragement, disagreements, and relentless disappointment are all playing their part to weigh me down into darkness and oh Lord, I am some kind of tired. But here's what I know:
Even when grace isn't rushing, flowing, streaming all over everywhere in joyful gurgles and pops . . .
there is always, always enough.
It was Jesus who said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." If His power is made perfect in my weakness, then more weakness = more power! I need to be constantly reminded that weakness isn't a raging pox, it's a recipe for power! The less of me there is, then the more room there will be for Him. Reminding myself . . . reminding you . . . (reminding myself . . .)
Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about . . . you have recently had to take yet another loan to pay for bills you thought would be well-covered by now, and the bills keep rolling in. Some of you have had to pack up after the never-expected-heart-breaking divorce was finalized and you still keep getting up and going to work looking all around everywhere for just one drop of grace. Some of you have had to lower your too-small Warrior into the dark cold ground and somehow keep breathing in and out for the other children all the while knowing what it is to not feel the grace at all . . .
Some of you are fighting the grip of fear as you await test results and the very blood runs cold every time the phone jangles nerves red-raw with the waiting and being afraid. Some of you know what I'm talking about when I say it's often difficult to sense the running-over glory of God's amazing grace because you're just trying to make it through one more day thank you very much.
Jesus, we can't take it!! We read about a strong brave daddy and his two daughters in the prime of life killed in their home when a raging tornado ripped apart every safe trusted thing and how is a wounded mama supposed to raise their other seven shattered Treasures on her own?
Big ideas are strangled little by little as we tear off page after page of the calendar; days passing, dreams perishing, darkness pervading as we take yet another step in what feels like the got-to-do-it direction we never exactly intended to go. Hearts are broken and bleeding where no one ever sees the scars and some are just plum wore out with the ruthless every-dayness of every-body and every-thing that Never. Lets. Up.
We're tired and thirsty, Lord and we are dying for a drop of your grace.
Then I read from Isaiah 35, "Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, 'Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution He will come to save you. No lion will be there nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away."
Oh how I need to be steadied and strengthened - then my God will come and I have no need to fear! Though the cancer treatments gnaw away at my littlest Lamb and I'm not nearly as brave as he is - still there is nothing to fear. In the midst of all the other sorrow and uncertainty when I feel I cannot take another step, my God will come to save me. My God will come to save me from my own weakness and failings, and to make His power perfect.
Gladness and joy are in hot pursuit and they will overtake me and we will roll in the grass together with laughter bubbling up as the sorrow and even the blasted sighing will flee away, desperate to escape the scene where clearly they never did belong in the first place.
This is a picture of God's boundless love for and protection of me, His redeemed and ransomed little one whose head He will one day crown with Ever. Lasting. Joy. It gives me hope and it encourages me to take the next step. My God is in control and His power is made perfect in my weakness. Oh boy, no shortage of that . . .
There's so much I don't understand and I feel deeply weary in the desperate daily doing of it all but if there's one rock solid eternal truth I know it's this: when nothing makes sense and nothing adds up and the hearts are nothing but broken, Jesus is always, always here.
And His grace is always enough.