I am pondering grace this morning. God’s grace is always with us in the sunshine and the storms.
At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ).
Mark 15:33-34 – NIV
Why is it that we recognize God’s grace so easily when things turn out well, but fail to see it when the hard times hit. When our loved one is healed, we sing the praises of God’s great grace, but when the suffering remains, we wonder where God is. Can grace only be found in the good days? Can His unfailing love be found in the hard stuff too?
Without a doubt, God’s grace is abundant on the sunny days of life, those days when smiles stretch our faces and joy dances through the doorways of our souls. Yet, I would submit that God’s grace is even more abundant on the stormy days of life. The thunder and lightning may draw our attention away. The howling wind may hide His voice. But His grace is present in every raindrop, His blessings flow in every downpour.
Though we may fail to see it, grace is always at work. God has a plan, and that plan is for good. God’s grace will prevail, even when we cannot fathom how or why.
When I consider the events of Jesus’ life, I have no trouble seeing God’s grace in the miracles. Jesus healed the sick. He restored sight to the blind. With but a touch of His hand, the lame could walk and the deaf could hear. What a beautiful witness of God’s great grace.
I can see grace at work as Jesus taught the people, grace working when five loaves and two fish formed a meal that fed five thousand. I can see grace in the tenderness Jesus showed His disciples and in the kindness he showed to those who begged him for help. In the miracles, in the healing, in the teaching, grace is there, working a plan for good.
But what about those last days? The sunshine that flourished on those miracle days is now eclipsed by thick gray clouds. The parade of palm branches is over, the hosannas hushed. In a matter of days, Jesus went from hero to outcast, from revered King to accused prisoner. Where was God’s grace then? Was it swept away with the wind?
No, grace was still there, just hidden from view. Grace had a plan, and its time was coming.
Surely grace was there at the Last Supper, there in the breaking of bread and the sharing of wine. Grace was there as Jesus bent low to wash his beloved followers’ feet.
But what about the Garden of Gethsemane? Was grace there among the trees, there in his hour of need? Yes, grace showed up, but it didn’t save Jesus from the struggle. Grace stayed awake in the wee hours even when the disciples did not. Grace was there through the teardrops. Grace saw the anguish, watched the blood seep from his forehead.
In the court of the Sanhedrin, grace was present in Jesus’ refusal to respond to the charges against him. His accusers couldn’t see it, but it was there.
God’s hand of grace was on Jesus’ shoulder as he stood before Pilot. Grace held him steady as he heard the crowd call out, “Crucify, crucify!” Grace held him upright as the flogging began, supported him as the lashes seared his shoulders.
Grace trudged before him on the road to Golgotha. Grace brought Simon of Cyrene to CarrY the cross up the hill. Grace saw the nails, felt each strike of the hammer.
Grace heard the jeers, saw the soldiers casting lots for his clothes. Grace saw the sign above his head. “King of the Jews.”
Grace saw it all and let it happen. Grace felt the anguish, suffered the indignity. Grace Silently watched and waited. It saw the sorrow, but it didn’t intervene. It endured the horror, but it didn’t act.
Grace had a plan, and this was all part of the plan.
But then the sky grew dark. The silence was broken with the words, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Grace was there as Jesus took his final breath.
Grace heard the fabric rip, saw the tear in the temple curtain. The veil that separated the people from God was torn in half, the barrier of sin ripped away once and foR all.
Grace was present in the linen cloth that wrapped his body. It walked with the men who carried his body away. Grace watched and waited as the stone was shifted to seal the tomb.
Grace had a plan, and it was almost time.
Early on the third day, the women arrived to prepare the body, but Grace got there first and rolled the stone away. Grace could be heard in the words, “Woman, why are you crying?”
Grace blazed like the sun in the eyes of the risen Lord.
Jesus had suffered in anguish, no doubt feeling forsaken and forgotten. He endured the pain, waiting for a rescue that never came. Rescue wasn’t the plan. Resurrection was. Redemption was. Once and for all, Grace had conquered sin and death through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Grace had a plan, a long time in coming. Grace had a plan, hidden from human eyes. Grace didn’t spare the suffering, didn’t halt the heartache. Grace used it to bring God the glory, to seal the final victory.
Grace had a plan, and Grace prevailed.
Friends, as you and I walk the hard,lonely roads of this life, as we carry our crosses feeling forsaken and forgotten, let us remember the empty tomb and the harsh road that led there. Let us remember that amid the suffering and the sorrow, Grace still stands by our side. Grace is still working even if hidden from view. God has a good plan for you and me, and God’s great grace will prevail.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16 -NIV
O Merciful and Sovereign Lord, we praise You for Your precious plan of grace. We know that You are always working for good even if we cannot see how just now or understand why we must sometimes suffer. By Your grace, we are forgiven, and by Your grace, we grow in faith. By grace, we become the people You created us to be. Help us trust in Your perfect plan even when the road is rocky and storm clouds threaten. Lord, let us walk with You believing every step of the way that Your Great Grace will prevail.
In the Gracious Name of Jesus, we pray,