It started as a small whisper in my spirit so many years ago: You could do that.
As a brand new Christian, doing my very first Bible study, it felt like a silly thought coming from my crazy mind. I had been going to this women’s group for six months or so, and still felt completely out of place. Had I contributed anything at all? I didn’t think so. Actually, as I recall, I did not speak a word the entire time, but there it was, this sense in my spirit. You could do that. It made me giggle. How silly it seemed! Me? Nope, not me!
See, I had secrets. I had a past not coloured with the rosy shades of joy, peace, and holiness, or days filled with church activities and youth group. In fact, even as I sat around the table listening to those women of God study His powerful Word, and share their faith with one another, there was this dark sense of dread in me. If they knew who I really was ~ where I had come from and what I had done ~ these gentle, godly women would gently escort me to the door.
Thankfully, as Isaiah 55:8 shares with us, God does not see things the way we do. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” As a woman at the beginning of my journey with God, when I looked within I saw nothing but my sin. God saw nothing but the soul washed clean by the sacrificial blood of His Son! When I looked at my abilities, I saw failures. When God looks at me, He sees the potential in the gifts that He has given me! I saw myself as having absolutely nothing to offer, and He saw that I would develop such a heart of gratitude for the grace He has lavished on me, that I would become His servant, willing to do whatever He asked. Yes Lord, I may do that.
What is this grace for which I am so grateful? Grace enough to cover your sin and mine? Back in those early days of Bible study, I had no idea about the depths of God’s grace. Grace was the prayer my grandmother said before meals, and even that was incomprehensible by my young ears. Grace, I was to learn, is so much more than a prayer to thank God for our food. Grace is that the LORD ~ the One who spoke the world into existence, the One who provides for our every morsel ~ is thankful for us. He loves you. He delights in you. He even sings over you. (Zeph 3:17)
Our Father in Heaven knows us completely, and even though we don’t deserve it, He pours His immeasurable love out on us. That is grace. Grace restores a man who publicly denied his Lord and friend. Grace takes a murderer and calls him to preach. Grace lovingly swallows a man with a fish to save him from his own disobedience and Grace sends his Son to into the world, while we were still sinners to die for us. (Romans 5:8) This is also the grace that invites this imperfect, sinful woman into the presence of our perfect LORD, where He fills my heart with such joy until it can no longer be held and the tears slowly run down my face. Grace!
None of us deserve the favor of our Lord. All sinners by birth, and in deed we deserve nothing but death. And yet He still loves us. Just when we think we have gone out of His reach, when we think our sin is beyond forgiveness, our Father whispers, “I chose you, my beloved daughter, I chose you.”
My Lord chose me this day to share the grace I have grown to so deeply cherish. Yes, my sweet Jesus, I will do that ~ I will speak of your love that has changed this sinner’s life. I will write. I will share. I will teach. That soft little whisper, that prompting in my spirit over the years, has brought me to a moment where with my heart both pounding and full of joy, I picked up my Bible and walked to the front of the room. As I began to teach, a sinner of the worst kind, I praised God for His power, and for His Grace that is enough to cover all our sins. By your Grace, I will do that.
“For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” Romans 11:36