Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Grace for Today

God gives us grace to handle today -- not to carry the burden of the past because those things are done, and not for tomorrow because those things have not yet come.

God also gives us grace specific to our situation.  My first lesson in this started many (many) years ago.  I didn't know I was learning a lesson at the time, but it is a situation that has influenced me to this day.

When I was very young, my best friend Craig had brain cancer.  I loved him very much.  God brought him home to Heaven the day after my fifth birthday.  I have only a handful of memories, but they are burned deeply in my memory, and each one is precious to me.

My lesson began with a conversation his mom had with me.  She sat down with me and told me that one day, Craig was going to go and live with Jesus and that when he did, he wouldn't be sick any more and he wouldn't have to go in the hospital any more and he wouldn't have the bandages on his head any more.  (I remember, as a 4 year old, that last one was important to me.)

As I got older, probably a young teenager, I would think back on that conversation and wonder how in the world she could have had the strength to do that.  I could never imagine being able to do something like that with the burden she was carrying.

As I progressed through my later teen years and into my early adult years, it became clearer.  There were things that came into my life that I could never have imagined I would be able go through.  I went through each situation one step at a time -- not because I am a person of incredible strength, but because of God's grace and strength.  God perfects his strength in my weakness  -- the weaker I am, the more God shows Himself strong. (II Corinthians 12:9)  God gave me light enough to see the next step and to keep moving forward.  God gives us grace for our specific situation.  I couldn't understand how Ronnie could have that conversation with me because it wasn't my situation to bear.  God does not give us the grace to handle someone else's burden.  I don't have the grace to carry your burden, and you don't have the grace to carry mine.  We each get the grace to go through our own individual set of circumstances.

Just today, I was reading in Cary Schmidt's book, Off Script  ( where he said pretty much the same thing.  He said "From the outside looking in, that doesn't make sense.  But it's an up-close reality in the trial.  If you had asked me before cancer how I would cope with having cancer, I would have been unable to respond.  But in every moment of every day . . . God meets me there with just enough of His grace to get me through."  (p. 116)

Whatever burden you are facing today, remember, if you are God's child, He is with you every step of the way; and He will give you His grace to face your circumstances. 

Grace for today.

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