Max Lucado has to be one of the most influential spiritual writers of our day. When you go to a bookstore, his books take up a whole self. I marvel at his output. His latest book is entitled “Grace.” I want to quote from his book and then make some personal comments. Max writes, “We find it easier to trust the miracle of resurrection than the miracle of grace. We so fear failure that we create the image of perfection, lest heaven be even more disappointed in us than we are. The result? The weariest people on earth.” So Max encourages us to “Let grace happen….No more performing for God, no more clamoring after God. Of all the things you must earn in life, God’s unending affection is not one of them.”
I have come to understand God grace as the lavish, abundant, generous expression of his love for me. “Grace is God loving, God stooping, God coming to the rescue, God giving himself generously in and through Jesus Christ” (John Stott). I have spent a lot of years not fully experiencing God’s grace in my life, not because I didn’t believe in God’s grace, but because it seemed too good to be true. I experienced grace when I came to God in all my vulnerability and shame, in other words, as an undeserving sinner. Grace was no longer an idea, but now a reality that touched to core of my brokenness. “God’s grace invites you – no, requires you – to change your attitude about yourself and take sides with God against your feelings of rejection” (Max). Grace happens when we receive it in dependance and weakness. Remember, “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness” (II Cor 12:9 – The Message)
Because of my unbelief, I actually hampered the work of grace in my life. What Max states was true of me; I had a hard time trusting the miracle of grace. God had no qualifications for me, except being repentant, that is, acknowledge my great need of grace. In my inability to believe in the miracle of grace, I created barriers by my “salvation projects” and my attempts at “sin management,” none of which brought me freedom or peace. Yes, grace is too good to be true. But that is the whole point. It is a miracle. So again I say to each man – You have to sit there in the presence of God and just receive what he wants to give you, his unconditional love, expressed in the grace of God give to you in Christ. It is a miracle – don’t try to figure it out – just receive it. Let grace happen.
I have a long ways to go as an instrument of God’s grace in this broken world. But I am learning to just receive and let it flow. I have to trust the river of grace. My task is to ride with the flow. It is God who is rich in mercy and grace. John tells us in John 1:16, “We all live off his generous bounty, gift after gift after gift. We got the basics from Moses, and then this exuberant giving and receiving” ( The Message). Because of God’s love and grace expressed in Jesus, we can confidently embrace the reality that we live in a world that has at its core a generous and caring God. God does not want to hold back on his goodness to each of us. His desire is that we be open to receive all his offers us. I thank God that I can have a perspective of a world that sees God at work in pouring out his grace to those who are willing to receive. We live in a grace filled world. Just let grace happen.
I close with a final quote from Max. “Grace. Let it, let him, so seep into the crusty cracks of your life that everything softens. Then let it, let him, bubble to the surface, like a spring in the Sahara, in words of kindness and deeds of generosity. God will change you, my friend. You are a trophy of his kindness, a partaker of his mission. Not perfect by any means but closer to perfection than you’ve ever been. Steadily stronger, gradually better, certainly closer. This happens when grace happens. May it happen to you.”