Saturday, June 27, 2009

What does Grace Look Like?

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

It’s a well known verse. You may be one of those people who learned it by heart when you were a child.

I have to confess that when I have read this verse I have always focused on “approach the throne of grace with confidence”. I have always thought of the attitude in which we come.

Once while on holiday in Paris, I was approached by a beggar. That’s not entirely true. The beggar didn’t do any approaching at all. I suppose I did the approaching since the beggar was in my path. She was kneeling on the floor before me with her hands held out in supplication. I was moved to compassion and thought that no one ought to be in that position, kneeling before another person, hands held out. There was something about the posture of the woman that stirred my spirit.

Thinking later about it, I was glad that I do not need to approach the throne of God like that…on my knees, my eyes to the ground, holding out my hands in supplication. That is not confidence or boldness.

This morning, it was the end of the verse that captured by attention, the bit that I know is there but don’t really look at “that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

“Grace to help us” isn’t an escape hatch to avoid the troubles we go through. Too often what I am looking for is a way out rather than a way through the difficult times that I am going through. I want not to feel so torn up inside. I don’t want my brother to be have cancer, or to think about another funeral on the horizon. I want stop crying. I want my sunny days without clouds.

God doesn’t offer that. He offers grace to help us in our time of need.

What does that look like? We had a visit from a friend of ours last night. She and her husband have some kind of time share arrangement. An apartment near Feungirola, where my brother lives, is available to them for a week in July. They have offered the apartment to us if we want it, so that we can spend time with my brother.

That’s what grace looks like!

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