Friday, December 27, 2013

Grace Equal to Every Need

"God will never give you more than you can handle".

I've never liked this phrase and in recent years, I've grown to like it even less. It's trite, it's cliche, and while almost always spoken by well meaning brethren, to be honest, I think it's a bit backwards.

I don't mean backwards as in backwoods. I mean sort of logically backwards. I think the focus is off, in other words.

Like another popular adage, "God helps those who help themselves" (source: Poor Richards, not Holy Scripture), it feels so man-centered to me. Basically, the onus is on me to HANDLE THIS SHIT.

Sometimes in church we deviate from our standard Apostle's or Nicene creeds and say the Korean Creed, which I happen to love in it's entirety. However, one line has, for awhile now, really stuck out to me- "We believe in grace equal to every need".

You see what they did there? It may sound like semantics, but to me there's a powerful difference. The focus is now on God and how He will provide that grace. I'm no longer in a corner questioning my level of faith because um, I CANNOT HANDLE THIS. I'm resting in the knowledge that grace will show up- even when I don't feel it; even when I'm unsure; even when I know I'm not handling things well, or really at all.

My friend Mal asked me the other day what Jesus was to me in this season. I think she was talking about this season of the church year (at that point we were nearing the end of Advent), but as I wrote this I started thinking of it in terms of this season of my life. What is Jesus to me?

And the answer is found in that favorite line from that favorite creed. He IS grace equal to every need. I'm not even going to say Christ gives us that Grace. He *is* that Grace. He embodies it. And that's a powerful truth during this season of much fear and worry.

Another thing that occurred to me in thinking on all this is that I know the Holy Spirit is at work within me- always chiseling, refining, sanctifying. Even when I push back against His leading, He is there at work. Always. Knowing that gives me confidence for a new endeavor in this upcoming year.

I want to offer my husband and my children, who are also about to enter into a season of unknowns and of stress, grace equal to their every need. Of course, I can't be that for them. I can't embody that characteristic the way our Lord can. But I can offer it. And I know I'll fail. I won't be able to meet that need perfectly any more than I meet any other need of my family with perfection.

But grace will cover it. The Holy Spirit will continue His good work. And the Lord will supply and embody that grace for them when I do fail (and when I don't).

When Mallory asked me that question about what Christ was to me right now, I couldn't articulate it well. But this is it. This is, honestly, the only way I'm doing this New York thing. Because I believe in grace equal to every need.


Annie said...

I love this, Sarah.

I also hate the idea that God won't give us more than we can handle, because He does, all the time.

But instead of leaving us with that burden, He lifts it up off our shoulders, making a way through the darkness of our mess, redeeming us, over and over again, to one day bring us home. And that, I think, is all the grace we need: the promise that one day, we will make it home, and the provision of the sustenance we need to make it each day until He calls us there.

Catherine Sledge said...

Proud of you, sweet friend. I will be praying you through it!

Amy said...

i want to give this a great big "AMEN!!!"
and i agree.... i can't stand the "God won't give us more than we can handle..." line.
because if we COULD handle all that comes our way, then what would we need Him for?!
i think He does give us more than we can handle, not to push us away from Him, but to draw us closer to Him. there's great intimacy in knowing that His power is made perfect in our weaknesses. His grace is ALWAYS sufficient.
praying for you and your family on this journey! and selfishly, i'm glad i get to "follow" along :)