The Definition of Grace, or How I Learned to Get on a Pool Raft and Keep My Hair Dry

As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

Okay it’s May. And it’s Adult Swim. Messing around time is over- no more shallow end for us- we’re adulting now. It’s the deep end. No cheating. This is how I feel about my life right now; treading water in an attempt to keep my nose above it, exhausted and flailing around. In the swimming pool of life, when we see someone operating in a full measure of God’s grace, they appear to be floating past us on one of those cool rafts, with the little inflatable pillow. And a drink holder. And their hair looks good. Why do they get a raft? Do they even deserve it? I mean, I don’t think they ever had to tread water! They’ve been floating around on God’s super-cool floatie and I don’t think they really earned it! Or… maybe…. They did…. And I didn’t.  I’ll work harder, and maybe God will drop a few of those inflatable arm bands my way. After all, nobody should just get a pass and go straight to the Oasis Pool Lounger System with double cup holders.

What I fail to realize, is that God has a huge pile of the best pool toys ever! He is hosting an extravagant pool party, and it isn’t so He can watch you try to drown yourself in an attempt to prove you are the most dedicated. It’s so He can watch His children be joyful overcomers who have no fear of the water.

God’s got a plan for us to learn to negotiate the waters of life- it’s the deep end, and a vehicle. If you are refusing the vehicle that allows you to move efficiently, you are wasting His time treading water. Well, He has all the time in the universe- you’re wasting the time you have to spend with Him. Don’t be selfish with your time. Take the floatie. Get on with God’s adventure. The only shame in accepting grace is that it’s a darn shame you didn’t grasp on to more of it, sooner. Because today it’s the Lazy River… tomorrow it could be Rip Roaring Rapids, or heaven help us, the Log Jammer. You better have a vehicle for the intense trip down, because the landing could be fatal without it.

What would the world look like if everybody got on the grace train, and stopped treading water? I f we were at maximum efficiency, able to move on His command without dog-paddling? The Kingdom of Heaven, I bet. Grace is the key to His will being done, on earth as it is in heaven. When we pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done,” what we are saying is, “I accept Your grace today to make your kingdom on earth a reality.”

I know that we are all given abilities, talents, and desires that are designed by God…but they are to make HIS dreams come true. Grace is the aftermath of what happens when you pierce the vacuum of your heart to allow His atmosphere to come in. Sometimes, when you let Him, the Holy Spirit rushes in like a hurricane and sweeps away your structures and walls, leaving you a blank canvas. Sometimes, He comes in like a gentle rain, bringing relief to hopes and dreams that were drying up with the waiting. In the aftermath of God’s display of power comes the real gift…. The power He leaves in your hands. He leaves you grace. Grace is the deposit of supernatural power to overcome on a daily basis. Grace is endgame of the cross. Grace is what God NEEDS for us to have, so He can fulfill His purposes on earth.

But…Does He really? Need us? He’s God and could just wave His hand and Do Crazy Things. Why must we toe the line to make Kingdom things manifest on earth? It’s because we’re, well… dating. All this life on earth, it’s the romance of our souls before we become the Bride of Christ. He courts us and invites us to become a part of His dreams, so that we may truly be partners in eternity in every way. This grace that’s given us, is the gift from the lover of our souls, that we may know Him fully, intimately, and share in His triumph and in His pain. Grace is the way we endure our own crosses to bear, that we may be knit more completely with Him as we persevere through success and disappointment. We are on a journey with a Father that holds our hand, lifts our heads, dries our tears, and giggles when we are super cute trying to make sense of what the heck we’re doing.

Accepting grace can seem an act of contrition. Like going to the principal’s office so he can call your mom and tell on you. In truth, asking God for His grace delights Him in a way nothing else does. Asking for grace is our way of saying, “I’m so in love with you I can’t imagine going through one day without sensing your hand on me.” If you’ve ever been estranged from someone you wanted desperately to connect with you, then you have knowledge of how God will jump at the chance to make a connection with you. If you listen, the Holy Spirit is whispering in your ear to come away with Him, to let Him make these dreams you share a reality by gifting you with power.  He has no end of Power, and doesn’t measure it out to make sure no one gets more than their fair share. Nope, He dumps it out lavishly and with joy, and gets immense satisfaction when we run headlong into it, ready for whatever comes next.

So, have no fear of the water. Climb on the Inflatable Lounger Deck for Two, toast your heavenly host (because you have a drink holder), and be glad your hair looks good today. And also that there are handles. Because tomorrow you may need to really hang on for the ride. 

 

Heather Bise

 

SUMMER SHAKE UP SERIES
GATHER HER || 06.08.17
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