When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have set in place;
What is man that You think of him,
And a son of man that You are concerned about him? (Psalm 8:3-4,NASB)
“Not writing a blog for New Year’s huh?” the sister (to whom I also owe the above pic) asked the other day. I said nope, don’t know yet. Truth being, like all of us, I looked back at last year, and was simply overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of it. I looked to what lay ahead, and was even more overwhelmed by the uncertainty of it all. And honestly, I couldn’t find words to put down all that was going on in my mind. Nevertheless one word that could probably describe the one year gone by would be – GRACE. Amazing, undeserved, unending grace.
Have you ever been in that place in your mind where you really can’t see the way things are going and you are just forced to surrender it to God because your brain is exhausted trying to figure it out? That was me December of 2020… and now when I look back- I cannot even begin to fathom the mountains God moved for me and the seas He held back from drowning me. Then again, just like the rebellious forefathers, that’s also me in December 2021!
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I made a home next to some rose garden last year. There were doubts, anxieties, troubles, questions, sickness and prolonged waiting. And yet there was joy in the midst of suffering, tenderness in brokenness, favour upon favour, and each unexpected twist and turn to my story proving to be another opportunity to grow deeper in love with the One I gave my life to- Jesus Christ. More often than not, every single day of the past one year has been a reminder of the miracle of sweet grace the Lord has bestowed on my life.
Now you might be tempted to shake your head and roll your eyes and say…yeah, yeah…that wasn’t my case. Or a long list of unanswered prayers and disappointments might pop up in your head. But let me tell you, as I was reminded the other day, if you have have a beating heart right now, and you are breathing freely and you have the eyesight to sit and read this blog, you have enough reasons to be grateful and thankful for the grace that’s been given you- to simply see another day. Many a time we aren’t even aware of the miracle of life. Our routines so get to us that we fail to pause and consider…the works of the Living God.
When we slow down and look around us, we see the story of Grace…unmerited favor … bestowed on us by a perfect holy God. Sometimes all it takes is a good look in the mirror to wonder if just a big bang could cause you to be the unique individual you are- with each system in your body working in perfect synchrony with the other, and not another person among the billions of people on this planet having the same genetic code as yours. You’ve been created unique- there’s just one of you. And that’s just the story of human beings- think about the plants, animals, birds, insects, galaxies, stars, planets…the list goes on. I choose to believe in a Creator God who created the universe to perfection. He knows them by name. This amazing God, knew I could never match up to the holiness He required of me, He reached out His hand, lifted me out of the slimy pit and washed me of my sins. His blood cleansed me, set my feet on firm ground and gives me hope for eternity. Through it all, that’s the one thing that keeps me together. The story of grace, redemption and hope for an imperfect me in an imperfect world.
That’s the story that’s been on my mind these days. The grace that saved me, the grace that keeps me and the grace that will lead me on. As I sat down the other day and reflected on all the uncertainties that lie ahead, while going all drama queen on myself , I was reminded of an old hymn that we don’t sing often enough. It was written by a slave trader who was saved by this same grace we have been talking about. When he repented of his ways and experienced the fullness of joy that comes from Christ, he penned these words down that describe how he came to loathe his past mistakes but had the hope of a forgiven and redeemed future to look forward to.
So on days when the workings of my mind could be sufficient material for a many part thriller series on some OTT platform, I take a deep breath and remember:
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures. (John Newton)
May this set the tone for the year ahead for you too dear reader.
“A woman who follows the Lord, the Lord will direct her steps, ” a calm seventy five year old voice was assuring me one night when I couldn’t see the way forward. Oh yes, He has directed my steps. I only had to surrender and trust He would. He will continue to..
O Mira Gratia!