Saturday, November 13, 2010

Image found here.

Do you ever forget about grace? I sure do. 

Somehow Monday snatches me up and takes me far, far away from the spiritual world of Sunday, takes me to a place that is crammed with tests and assignments and deadlines and pressures and the unspoken but undeniable fear that you will never be good enough. 

And there I stay. 

I frantically run around in circles like an animal in a cage, trying in vain to accomplish my list of tasks with a perfection that I can never attain. I keep searching for hope and joy and meaning, but can never find it there. And then the thoughts of doubt and the despair fill my mind. Why am I so busy? Why is life so hard? Why can't I accomplish the simple things I need to get done? Will I ever finally be able to do it on my own? But then I remember that God doesn't want me to do it alone. He wants us to come unto Him and ask for help - but in running the frenzied race of my life, I have forgotten. 

No, I'll never be able to do it on my own. I will always need Christ and His Atonement. 

I love this insight from Corrie Ten Boom and have tried to make it the motto of my life. 
During World War II, Corrie and her sister Betsie were imprisoned in a concentration camp in Germany. They decided to use this opportunity to lead Bible studies and share their testimonies of Christ. But even while engaged in God's work, Corrie found it hard to fight her instincts of self-preservation and soon lost the hope and joy that she had previously found in her service. 

"And so I struggled on with worship and teaching that had ceased to be real," Corrie wrote, "until one drizzly raw afternoon when just enough light came through the window the read by, I cam to Paul's account of his 'thorn in the flesh.' Three times, he said, he had begged God to take away his weakness, whatever it was. And each time God had said Rely on Me. At last Paul concluded -the words seemed to leap from the page- that his very weakness was something to give thanks for. Because now Paul knew that none of the wonders and miracles which followed his ministry could be due to his own virtues. It was all Christ's strength, never Paul's.
And there it was. 
The truth blazed like sunlight in the shadows of Barracks 28. The real sin I had been committing was not that of inching toward the center of a platoon because I was cold. The real sin lay in thinking that any power to help and transform came from me. Of course it was not my wholeness, but Christ's that made the difference."

Every time I read that passage, I weep. I'm not sure why this is such a struggle for me, why I forget Christ and His transforming wholeness day after day when I have pictures of Him taped up in every room of my apartment, but I do. Such is the challenge of our fast-paced, technological society. 

But the beauty is that I don't have to fight this battle on my own. I don't have to save myself. I have His arm of mercy to lean on, His Atonement to cleanse me of my sins, His heart full of love to heal me and His example to teach me how to become like Him. 

Yes, I may have forgotten grace, but grace has never forgotten me. 

walter rane, one by one

"For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, 
and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; 
for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." 

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