I love hymns. One of my current favorites is, “Marvelous Grace of Our Loving Lord” by Julia H. Johnston. This wonderful hymn has me humming its chords nearly every single day. The chorus specifically rings sweetly to me,
Grace, grace, God’s grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace
Grace that is greater than all our sin.
God’s grace is good, and it is a comfort for a sinner like me. His grace not only is our entrance to salvation in Him, but it is also a gift given daily as our hearts are tempted to depart from Him and His ways. Recently this topic of grace has been pointed out to me in a new light. I have been reading Parenting by Paul Tripp, which has shone fresh light on the grace of God for me.
Grace is a pretty word. It’s a comforting word. It’s an often sung-about word. I love it so much, I named my youngest daughter after it! However, grace is not just those things. Grace can be hard. Specifically, as humans in relation to other humans, it can actually be painful.
Grace certainly was painful when Jesus extended it to make a way for us to receive His beautiful salvation. Grace that day meant His criminal death on a cross. It hurt Him, and took away all the comforts of heaven from Him, and He extended it to us anyway. We should not be surprised that grace can be painful to extend to others around us.
My feelings get hurt more often that I’d like to admit. Even in the context of my loving marriage, and home life with four sparkly daughters, my feelings get hurt daily. “Why is she throwing a fit for me right now?” or “Why does he want to do that on his day off, instead of the list of things I want to do?” are only a couple of glimpses into my heart on a regular basis.
What I am learning about grace in the midst of both the little and large assaults upon my feelings, is that it is God’s grace to put us in situations that strip away at our selfish and sinful tendencies. He allows pain into our lives as an extension of grace. In those moments of frustration or hurt, we not only get to receive His marvelous grace towards us, but we also get to extend His grace to those hurting us.
The painful situations that we all come in contact with are an opportunity for grace. I am grateful for this reality — it really changes my heart and attitude. My feelings being hurt, my disobedient children, pain that my extended family is experiencing are all opportunities. I could take these situations as opportunities to question God’s goodness, or I can face the pain head-on and pray for a covering of grace all around. Truly, what a gift He has given us in grace.
Thank you Lord for Your marvelous grace! Remind me often, I pray, to receive grace in each moment, and seize the opportunity to extend it. Thank you for not only supplying my needs, but for grace upon grace beyond them.