I slid into the back pew gripping a tissue in one hand and my bible in the other. The week had been very difficult, leaving me grasping for Jesus, clinging to hope from God’s grace-filled hands.
My heart was breaking with sorrow.
My mind tossed to and fro with confusing thoughts.
And even though I felt I was merely going through the motions, deep within I knew the Lord would meet me there — there in this precious country church I call my Kingdom home.
Preacher Johnny stood behind the pulpit, his tall stature towered on the shoulders of giants, his gentle eyes and voice bringing God’s love to the congregation.
“Open your bibles to 2 Timothy 2:1.”
The sound of many pages turning filled the sanctuary. I love that sound. Somehow it feels like glue — a connector piece binding my church family together as one, each of us on our own journey, with our own joys and sorrows, trials and difficulties, yet each of us grasping for Jesus, clinging to hope.
The pastor read, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
From the pulpit came these words, “We have the grace of God. We don’t have to earn it. We don’t have to conjure it up. We have it. Now, be strong in it.”
What is grace? We know it as unmerited or undeserved favor from God. It is God’s love in action. He moved heaven and earth to save us and make a way for us to be reconciled to Him. Through Jesus, God made a way that we might know Him and receive the gift of salvation.
That is New Testament grace: charis.
Grace is also found in the Old Testament: chesed. This word refers to deliverance from enemies, affliction, or adversity. It also speaks of enablement, daily guidance, forgiveness, and sustenance.
Because of our salvation, we are placed in the river of His grace, surrounded by His love, delivered from our enemies.
Adversity is nothing in the face of God.
Weakness is made strong.
Paths become straight.
Hearts are cleansed and set free by the miracle of forgiveness.
And the child of God is upheld, preserved, and sustained by our “good, good Father.”
As Preacher Johnny concluded his sermon, my eyes returned to 2 Timothy 2:1. Deep within I heard the sweet whisper of the Lord, “You therefore, Nan, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
Yes, Lord. I will. Thank You for Your amazing grace.