Thursday, March 15, 2012

Grace for the Course

Twists and turns are a part of life. Trials and obstacles are par for the course. We're human so these circumstances are always accompanied by feelings ranging from hurt and confusion, to disappointment and frustration, even anger and bitterness. One of my very first blogs was about what to do with these emotions that result from the disappointments we face. (Click here to read "Where Do You Pitch Your Tent?") And while we're still processing the feelings, we're also left with the very real issue of having to take the next step on an unknown course.

"I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course." Jeremiah 10:23

Even today I'm reminded how quickly and drastically our best laid plans for the course can come to a screeching halt. One phone call, one text message, one email, one diagnosis, one person, one decision...in one life-changing moment, everything can change. The roadblocks and detours are inevitable. This may cause a temporary rest stop. It may result in a complete change of direction. This isn't just a quick reprogramming of the GPS. This is a course-altering change and you've not been given the final destination.

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:8

We can pray for His strength in our weakness, but have you ever prayed for an outpouring of His grace in your heart? We must first understand what this "grace" is; literally translated "the divine influence upon the heart." His abounding grace to you is an act of graciousness or gifting. And from this definition we can understand that even when circumstances AROUND us may be less than ideal, the condition of the heart INSIDE can be abounding in grace because of what He gives. This, then, is how we can have all that we need, in all things, at all times. Oh, someone needs to shout with me "Yes, Lord, Your grace in me"!

His grace is abounding in you even now - even amidst the pain, anger, frustration, confusion & hurt. It may seem a contradiction to experience such feelings but have His grace divinely influencing your heart. He was human once, too, so He knows the feelings and frustrations because he felt them too. All the more, He knows what you need to face "all things at all times." Even this. Even pain. Even sickness. Even trials. Even family. Even...whatever else it is.

The plan you have made for your life isn't necessarily a bad plan. He may not be saying that direction is wrong. He's not preventing you from success or a glorious outcome. On the contrary, He's sending you through a process of refinement where you can receive His grace so that whatever you do, you will abound, excel and exceed. In this, whether pain or trial, disappointment or diagnosis, you will have all that you need to get back on course. You may be headed in a new direction, maybe with different passengers on board, or maybe not even in the driver's seat (that's a scary thought for this control freak!). But you WILL have grace divinely influencing your heart and directing your course, no matter what roadblocks or detours lie ahead.

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