I wrestle with grace. I resist the acceptance of something freely given. My chief obstacle in swallowing grace is myself. Pride. The need for control. The desire for the credit. Do I hear an “amen”?
Many people struggle with grace as their first act of faith in believing in the atonement of the Cross of Christ. In other words, we want to do a work to achieve eternal life. In doing so, we’re attempting to remove the credit due to Christ.
For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Now to the one who works, pay is not considered as a gift, but as something owed. (Romans 4:4)
If salvation is given based on what a person has done, then salvation is given by God as payment for a debt. But when we accept God’s gift of salvation by grace, there is no claim on man’s part, and he receives a pure gift. Something he has not earned.
Others easily accept the gift of salvation but then live the rest of life working for grace. That’s an oxymoron, right? Earned unearned favor. Nevertheless, I fall into this category. Therefore, undeserved endorsements from God often leave me baffled. In the midst of disobedience and defiance, I’m dazed by His distribution of Charis grace. I am on my knees bewildered by His benevolence.
As His grace is given, I swell with Charis-joy. A growing ripple of Charis-thankfulness splashes and cascades from streams within my soul. The Giver grants the gift. I offer gratefulness. And the cycle of grace continues.
God’s most recent gift of grace has me, again, in awe.
Orphan advocacy has been in my heart for decades, which made my job as a social worker fulfilling. In addition to working with abandoned or neglected children in Texas, I began voluntarily contacting orphanages and adoption agencies in Guatemala seven years ago. My husband and I even considered adopting from that country. I simply sensed a strong connection, somehow, with the Guatemalan orphans. However, the adoption road came to a dead-end. I shelved that endeavor but saved my records of research and never forgot that pursuit.
I now realize God was giving me a glimpse of a delicate, divine trickle pulsing through my life. Just a peek at a gift radiantly wrapped.
No one can receive a single thing unless it’s given to him from heaven. (John 3:27b)
Recently, a friend introduced me to a woman, Dawn Choate, who founded Healing Hannah and Healing Orphans. That introduction grew into an immediate friendship. In fact, the day I lost my job in foster care, I was having lunch with Dawn and discussing the possibility of journeying internationally with her for orphan advocacy.
I had no idea I’d ever truly travel with Dawn. And, what I certainly didn’t anticipate was God gracefully extending His heavenly hand with the Charis gift of which He’d given me a glimpse in 2004.
In just a matter of weeks, I will be traveling to Guatemala. And, to make this gift even more God-sized, the organization we’ll be working with is the very one I’d contacted seven years ago during my pursuit of Guatemalan adoptions.
I am not certain how the pieces of this puzzle will fit together nor do I see the big picture of the finished design. I don’t know if the trickle will surge into a rushing river or if a brimming brook will ebb to its end at a dry creek bed. In fact, I am completely unsure of what waits inside this Charis gift box. And even if it takes another seven years to get a glimpse, I’m going to receive just as God offers.
At His pace.
With Charis joy.
And grace be to you!