Saturday, July 27, 2013

Were It Not For Grace

Psalm 17:7 Paint grace-graffiti on the fences; take in your frightened children who Are running from the neighborhood bullies straight to you. (the message)

Today 50 children met outside under the mango trees, in the shadow of the steeple,  to partake in fresh bread.  The only bread that can give life. (John 6:35)

For three hours the words of God were spouted out of these tiny mouths by memory. Their teacher pushed them and corrected them at every turn making sure that each morsel was recited perfectly. It was the first time for me that the bread had a different taste. Instead of being swallowed down with an overflow of Grace it was passing through to my soul dry and stale. The unleavened bread was now filled with leaven and the burden of my sins. I watched these children recite and recite only to be met with discipline for every missed word and incorrect hand gesture. So, as I sat there I began thinking, "Where is Grace?  Does it really matter that they say it without flaw or should we beat God's words into our minds with nothing less than perfection?" Then God, who is always faithful, showed me His answer in the face of Rael.

Rael is one of our older girls. To say that she is precious would only undermine the character stamped inside of her by God alone. She is my right-hand assistant each Sunday morning. She helps to lead the hymns and always takes up the offering. I have learned to lean on her when I stumble over my words and I know that I can always look over to her big, brown, eyes and find only compassion. Today her eyes were not filled with hope and compassion but instead shame. For, when she stood to recite her scripture, she found herself stumbling over her words and hand movements. She would stand mumbling her verse over and over waiting on her turn and then once she was in the spotlight she would freeze. Just like a proud mama, I sat on the back pew with a huge smile on my face and I, too, was mumbling the words just in case she would look my way to find a much needed place of Grace. Sadly, the teacher for the day, did not offer the same condolences for her missed and jumbled words. After multiple tries, the teacher did what I prayed would not happen, she pulled Rael from the line of children. Rael was scolded for her forgetfulness and sent back to her seat. Now, just two kids down from me sat a defeated and totally humiliated child.

God whispered to me, "You know that feeling don't you? Get up and go demonstrate my love to Rael. My Grace is sufficient for her and she needs to know that I am not seeking perfection. If I was seeking perfection, I surely would not have used you." So, when Rael was alone, I quietly got up from my seat and went to her side. I placed my arms around her and pulled her in real tight, whispering in her ear, "You did an excellent job reciting your verse today and God is very pleased with you." Rael begin weeping and for a few minutes Patrick and I loved on her and demonstrated for her what God demonstrated for us 2,000 years ago. Pure, Unmerited, Grace.

I know what my life would look like if it were not for Grace. I would be that beaten and broken young woman living a defeated life void of joy. Everyday I feel the weight of sin as I live among a people who are trying to achieve, through their good works, the promise fulfilled for me on the Cross. I am wrapped up in redemption and not cloaked in the unattainable. I know the one, true, God and for that I will sing of His love, forever. Grace will be painted on our house and offered to all who enter. Pray that our home will be filled with many who will receive this Grace for the first time.

Living and Loving Alongside Christ,

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