So often we see grace as being the solution to a better life, to a incessant smile, because that’s what we all crave. We want to be able to arrive at a place and finally be able to sit down and rest after fighting and clawing our way to get there. When that doesn’t happen we doubt that grace, freedom, living without law, is really worth all the trouble. We question if it is really even true.
In so many ways choosing to live a life driven by grace has made things easier. It has freed me from having to worry about what others think of me. It has given me confidence to know that God is not disappointed, angry, or saddened with me. It has filled me with a desire to shower love on those that I care about. It has even given me the ability to reach the outcasts, broken, and forgotten.
Grace makes other things harder.
If I choose to live by grace that means I actually have to show grace to other people (I know, shocker, right?) It means that when I am attacked I choose the path of peace. It means that when on the receiving end of words of aggression I must respond with gentleness. Choosing to live that life sometimes makes me a victim, soft, and silent.
You might ask why I would choose that life.
The answer is really something quite beautiful.
I choose that life because the wonderful thing about grace is that even when I fail to show it, as I so often do, I am not disqualified from receiving it. There is no cut off, no point of being not enough, and no time of unforgiveness. Even when I betray grace I am not betrayed by it for at my weakest it is at its strongest and that is what makes it such beautiful mess, really.
So many times I am a complete failure at practicing what I preach and still God refuses to stop using me as his messenger. He looks at me and says, “Peter, who denied me in my need, feed my sheep.” How can I not follow a God who offers me such redemption and puts the glory of a holy message in the fumbling hands of a ragamuffin saint?
That is what is so difficult about grace.
It wraps me in a state of simultaneously loving and hating it. My desire to be devoted to it is sabotaged by my inability to be consistent in it, thus tearing me apart and holding me together in the same moment. It is beautifully messy and awkwardly perfect as it scandalizes my perception of justice with its constant unfairness.
And I choose it.
Because it chose me.
In my addiction it beckoned me. In my failure it exalted me. In my dirtiness it embraced me. In my emptiness it satisfied me. I am forever ruined by grace. It has made a mess of my life and how beautiful a mess it is!
For that reason, I will strive to be for others what it has been to me. Though I will fail often, I trust that Christ in me will be seen for His power is made perfect in my weakness. Let struggles come and attacks rise up against me for I will cling tightly to the grace that is set before me, not as a destination to reach one day but as a state of being in this midst of it all.
His grace is more than enough.
Take heart, my friends, in knowing that even when you feel as if you are not enough for Him; He will always be enough for you. Rest in the knowledge that even when you feel dissatisfied in Him; He is satisfied with you. Be brave enough to see the beauty in the mess and the glory in the failure.
It has already chosen you.