God’s Painful Grace

There was a time when I believed God’s grace to be something that was always comforting, always miraculous, always a blissfully joyful thing to experience. And it IS all of those things, but not always. Yes, God’s grace has brought me to thankful tears. God’s grace has brought relief and happiness to my heart. God’s grace has overwhelmed me as a loving force that cannot quite be put into words, where I’ve simply felt waves of love washing over me.

But, recently, as I have reflected on some very pivotal moments in my life, I’ve come to also notice a pattern of what I’ll call “painful grace”. This often comes in the form of shattered dreams, a broken heart, a lost job and the like. And it’s not until you’ve come completely out of the situation and (significant) time has passed, and the heart is open for lessons to be gleaned from the experience, that you realize that it was God’s grace at work in those difficult moments also.

At the time, we can rarely see it as grace, because we’re in the throes of pain and disappointment. We’re grieving, lamenting, mourning. It’s difficult to see clearly when we’re in the middle of grappling with the “why” and “how” of our agonizing experiences. But, in hindsight, we can see God’s hand of grace in those very situations.

Later, after the fact, we see that God’s grace in our losing that job was that He was moving us out of our comfort zone, or perhaps removing us from a place with no growth opportunity, or maybe removing us from a toxic work environment so that we could move onto the next opportunity that He had for us. If we’d not have been ‘moved’ from that position, we might have remained in a place of stagnancy and/or missed out on the next chapter God had for us for career growth and change.

After the fact, we see that God’s grace in that failed relationship was Him moving us out of an unhealthy situation, or saving us from a lifetime commitment with a toxic person, or saving us from a situation were we’d have been ill-matched or not truly valued.  However, by His grace, He ‘moved’ us out of that situation so that we could be free to move into a place of self-growth and healing, and/or into a place of preparation for a better future relationship.

After the fact, we can see that God’s grace in that failed business or shattered dream was Him repositioning us. He was re-routing us to an even greater purpose and more fulfilling dream. That ‘failure’ caused us to rethink life, upgrade our perspective, and brainstorm a new, more innovative plan or idea than we would’ve thought of if we’d have not experienced that failure. I once heard Bishop TD Jakes saying something to the effect of – ‘what if our failures are really our gateways to the next phase of our purpose?!’ [paraphrased]

Ohhh, God’s painful grace! We do not readily embrace it. We fight it. We even hate it, because at the time it does not seem like grace… It only feels like pain. But, if our hand is in God’s hand, shouldn’t we trust Him to lead us through this process? To refine us? To grow us? Even if at times His grace is painful?

©2019 Life Together with Kay Dee, “God’s Painful Grace”

photo credit: morguefile.com

Come See A Man

water.pour

“Come see a man who told me everything I ever did….” – John 4:29a

Even in the midst of our mess, God talks to us.  We are not forgotten.
The story from which I took this quote, is a story where Christ asks a woman for water to drink – a woman who he wasn’t supposed to talk to, according to Jewish customs – and proceeds to reveal to her in a loving way, the mess in her life. Not to make her feel bad. But so He could help her change it for the better. Oh, there are so many points I could bring out with this passage. But, I’d like to concentrate on this…

God knows where we are.
He loves us anyway.
He comes to help us.

He knows our struggles, failures, ‘white lies’, big fat lies, compromises, lack of faith, when we turn away from him, etc.
But, if we come to God, he doesn’t leave us hanging. The answer may not be instantaneous, but it comes.
And it often comes at a time when we’re most likely to pay attention.

This has happened for me today.
I’ve been in a prolonged season/period of testing, trials, etc.
I’ve gone through the gamut of emotions, bargaining, reasoning, getting angry, rebelling, denial, etc.
Most recently, as I continued to go to church (at least once a week), and read my bible (though not every day), and pray (alllllll of the time…although I’m pretty sure that a lot of it was just complaining), God has really been kind to speak to me.

Last week I heard a message about the life of King David. The point was brought out that though the beginning of David’s pathway to kingship may have seemed obscure, pointless, and like a long winding road….God had a purpose for each place in his journey toward becoming King. It was THEN, God opened my understanding to realize that all I have been through and all that I’m enduring now has a purpose….an ultimate end…a reason bigger than myself.

I have finally begun to come to a place of “contentment”. The bible says “be content in whatever state you’re in” (Phil. 4:11). I was fighting this lesson tooth and nail. I’d already done the ‘contentment thing’. It was time for a change! Time for blessing! I had BIG DREAMS that needed to come true IMMEDIATELY! I had God-given dreams!  Enough is enough (I reasoned)! I was trying and praying and clawing and grasping and determined to MAKE the dreams happen. But, I was blocked every time. God would encourage me TO dream, but, I had my OWN agenda and way that I thought things should be going…especially at this point in life.
But then, He began to speak to me about contentment. FINALLY I’m beginning to receive it.

Then TODAY, I heard the ending of a radio program that addressed this very thing. Ohhhhh, how I needed it. This spoke DIRECTLY to me. God used this woman on the radio program and told me ‘everything I ever did’. In essence, He reached me right where I was (am).  It was perfect timing to really strengthen and undergird what God has recently been revealing to me and re-teaching me about life, timing, trials, contentment. I really needed to hear this because recently I’d begun to become disillusioned as I thought my life should be “better” by now.  My sins of impatience and forging ahead with my OWN plan (instead of flowing with God’s plan) were exposed.   And through this radio program, I gladly received the healing balm of the words being spoken. The message of love not only convicted me, but comforted me (to know I was not alone), and strengthened me (to know I’m on the right track, learning to be content and trust God in the midst of difficult situations, trust His ways & timing). God says His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9).  “In this world, you WILL have trouble. But TAKE HEART (that is, be encouraged!), I (Christ) have OVERCOME THE WORLD!” And if we trust in Him, we too, with Him, have also overcome. Remember this whole thing has a bigger purpose than you can imagine. ♥

Here is the link to the radio program I heard. PLEASE LISTEN AND BE BLESSED.
If you want to skip all of the beginning talk, to get to the ‘meat’ of the program, it starts at 6:25.
>> Interview with Dr. Lina Abujamra <<
The speaker / author is Dr. Lina Abujamra.
Her book is “Stripped: When God’s Call Turns from ‘YES’ to ‘Why Me?'”. Title…so apropos.

Be blessed and refreshed as with a drink of cool water in a parched and weary land! Love to all!

© 2013 “Come See A Man” by KD Corner / K.D.