Sometimes, Grace Looks Like . . .

As I drove into the parking lot, I thanked God for His favor in advance. I was here not to make a purchase, but to get some money back on my new laptop that was now on sale for less than the purchase price two weeks ago. And, I was here in the middle of the afternoon on a weekend, not normally a time I would venture out to make a transaction like this among the crowds. I hoped God’s favor would include no resistance by the customer service people in making the price adjustment. Beyond that, I also hoped there would only be a few people ahead of me in line at this busy time. That was what I expected grace to look like – complete with the patience to wait and be kind.

Imagine my surprise as I turned toward the customer service department to find no line. As in, there wasn’t one. No one was even being waited on at the counter, and the employees were waiting to be needed. I picked up my pace (really!) to beat all the customers I knew would appear from other parts of the store, all who would have long and involved problems. They didn’t come.

One of the service reps, who noticed me arriving, promptly stepped up to the counter to welcome me. Before I had a chance to explain my situation, she saw the receipt and advertisement in my hand and asked with a smile, “A price adjustment?” With no further questions, she performed the required steps on her register and handed me a new receipt, indicating a nice credit to my account. In under a minute from the time I entered the store, I was out the door and on my way home, a completely satisfied customer.

Now I thanked God for His grace after the fact, contemplating how it looked so different from what I expected. But God knew in advance what I needed. This time, I didn’t need the grace of His patience to wait in even a short line, nor of His self-control in convincing the employee to give a price adjustment – or even to walk away gracefully not having gotten my way. Another time, I might need it to look like that and more.

Today, God’s grace was far beyond what I had even dared to consider. No delays in any way by employee or customer. Rather, His favor made my errand such smooth sailing that it seemed I was on a sea of glass with no one else around.

B Stocking family 102014 (4) LRI don’t know what His grace will look like next time, but I know it will be exactly what is needed for that moment and that situation. As simply as a child, I want to expect, without limitation, God’s abundant grace in my life, just as He has promised.

Sometimes, grace looks like . . .

Just the Facts, Ma’am?

Hebrews 13:5 NIV   . . . because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Haven’t I heard this forever?  Haven’t I said it over and over again – to myself and to others?  Only now am I beginning to grasp the fullness of the promise in these few words.  Only now do I sense the power in my Daddy’s words to me – and to you.  Of all things, it was the line, “Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts,” from the old Dragnet TV show that opened my eyes wider.

This line was used on the show by the investigators when questioning some emotional female following a crime.  Predictably, she would provide way more information about people, events, and feelings than was needed, and the professionals had to corral her ramblings by calling for just the facts.

This phrase came back to me in prayer, and I saw this as a major ploy of our enemy.  He pushes believers in Christ Jesus to focus on and speak about only the facts of our current situation.  The tougher the situation, the easier it is to do.  Let’s face it.  Some of the facts can be pretty overpowering and all-consuming, whether it’s pain, disease, lack of money, heartache, overwhelming fear, broken relationships, etc.  The bigger the issue(s), and the more time they require in our day, the more likely we are to speak only the facts – those natural things we see, hear, and feel.

These are the times, however, it is absolutely vital to choose what God says instead.  It is Truth.  God and His Truth supersede any fact we will ever face.  For instance, the verse from Hebrews 13 is an all-encompassing promise from our Abba Daddy – good for any situation and circumstance we face.  Simply, He has promised never to leave or forsake us.  It’s not maybe and it’s not for someday.  It’s an ongoing promise for us who are in Christ.  Now.  And tomorrow.  And every tomorrow to come.

This promise is not given by a human who is prone to break promises.  This is from God: El Shaddai, Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Shalom, Emmanuel . . .  He, the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent One, has declared (and He will not lie!) that He will never leave or forsake us.  Will all our troubles disappear when we understand?  No.  But the more we grasp His Truth – beyond all the natural facts – the less power the troubles wield in our lives.

It’s time for us to receive the simplicity and the fullness of our wonderful Father’s promise to us and to declare, “Just the Truth.  Just the Truth.”

The passage in the Amplified version brings out Daddy’s promise even more clearly.  Underlined portions are for emphasis.

Hebrews 13:5 AMP   Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]  [Josh 1:5.]