It’s hard to describe grace sometimes- the unmerited favor and kindness of God. It is powerful. It is loving. It changes me. Last weekend I woke up early on Saturday after a long, full week of work and several evening commitments. It didn’t take long after opening my tired eyes that I felt the all too familiar sense of anxiety pressing in. In my weakness and defense I chose stillness. I sat up in bed and got silent before the Lord, waiting and worshiping to a song on repeat, fitly called “Breathe”. It goes a little like this… “I breathe You in, I breathe You out, cause worship is connection, worship is connection, we’re not just singing to the sky, worship is connection, we’re returning a love song, to the One who’s been singing over us all along.” Entering into worship like that and just being with Him brought a complete peace, calm, and strength to my soul. After praying and worshipping for a while, I got up from my bed and wasn’t the same the rest of the day. I felt connected to His Spirit. I had strength, I had joy, I had a calm heart, and a sound mind. The looming anxiety had left and never returned… that’s the power of grace. That’s the saving power of the gospel, that Jesus Christ can and will save when we trust and depend on Him. Fear and anxiety used to be my norm, my strongest bondage, but thankfully Jesus changed that and freed me years ago and continues to keep me free. Now I know who to turn to if I start to feel unsettled and anxious, the One who is peace Himself. And every time He comes through.
“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress [defence]; I shall not be greatly shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2
Again it’s hard to describe grace. I stepped onto a plane later that day and flew home to IL for a visitation and funeral. There was a mixture of emotions, sadness, faces I hadn’t seen in years, grief all around me, little sleep, lots of travel, and yet such rest in my soul. I felt carried as I depended on God. Two short days later I’m back on a plane, twice delayed late into the night, with the next work day fast approaching. Yet through it all I knew the abiding presence of my Lord, supplying grace and patience, and sustaining me with constant peace as I trusted.
This consistent peace, this rest, is something so wonderful, and in a way, new to me these last several months. New in the sense that it’s more constant and undergirding as I’m learning to abide and depend more. It’s made me ever more grateful for what Jesus did, dying and rising again to give me this kind of new, liberating life. Is it perfect, not at all, but it’s a life connected to the Source that is perfect and supplying a grace that astonishes me so often.
I sat in church service a week later and the pastor was speaking from 1 Thes. 4:13-14, “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow [grieve] as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” While I sat listening to the good news of Jesus my joy in having this hope mingled with such sorrow for those who don’t. Tears were falling as I felt a mixture of emotion, remembering where I had been just a week ago. I have to tell them, I have to tell them… of all that I’ve found in Jesus, and I know I haven’t found all that He is offering me of abundant life and precious promise. But I have peace down deep in my soul, joy in knowing His truth, steadiness as I trust Him, and a place to rest and stand. I have forgiveness and cleansing, a Saviour and a friend. I have a right relationship with God by the blood of the Lamb. I was once in darkness, but now I’m in the light all because of His grace working through faith. He supplies for my every need and hears my simple prayers. I’m a daughter of God. I’m never alone. I have a hope and a promise as I live each day, that this life can be lived by His strength and overcome by faith! There is hope beyond my days here, hope beyond the grave. He said there will be new life then. He’s coming back again. He will restore all things, making them new and ruling in righteousness over a perfect creation! I can’t wait for the day He sets it all right. That’s the hope after this life. Trusting in Jesus is the only way. Turn away from your sin and trust in Him today!
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend
And I know that He is with me,
Will be with me to the end.
Just to trust His cleansing blood
And in simple faith to plunge me
‘Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
Just from sin and self to cease
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.