In the Scriptures, Jesus once said:
“‘Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.’” – Matthew 11:28-30
Seeing Jesus in such a grace-filled light has been one of the hardest truths I’ve come to accept. It’s not easy to look at myself and say, “Jesus is recovering my life. I can live freely, covered by grace.” If I’m being brutally honest, I often look at myself in the mirror and think, “You’ve screwed your life up. That guy you wanted to be when you had nothing to lose? He’s lost. You don’t deserve the life Jesus talked about…You’re just lucky to be alive, kid.”
Grace finds us when we’re furthest away from who we were created to be.
Grace invites us to recovery, not self-flagellation.
Even so, grace isn’t free. It flows in the blood of Jesus who was massacred for our redemption.
I recently went to see the new film adaptation of “Ben Hur”. Personally, I thought it was fantastic! Maybe when I was younger I wouldn’t agree…Maybe I would have looked for all of the production errors, the actor mishaps, and the cheesy dialogue. Not now. As grace has become increasingly present in my mind’s eye, so has the appreciation of stories of redemption. I won’t give away the film if you haven’t seen it yet (which you should), but I’ll tell you this: grace takes the lead role.
Grace always seems to makes a cameo where we least expect it. In Ben Hur, grace arrives in the arena. In our lives, grace shows up when we’re on the floor in a dark room, crying ourselves to sleep…You might be thinking, “Andrew, I haven’t seen grace once with me on that floor. I’ve just seen pain, heartache, and emptiness.” What you see and feel does not determine when and where grace appears. Those moments on that floor are exactly why Jesus poured out his grace.
There is such a furious grace that screams to our souls, “I want you as my own! Come back!”
Jesus loved spending time with the losers, the failures, the freaks, and the shameful. Grace showed up in the midst of their brokenness. Grace flowed from the life of Jesus, washing over the people the world had written off.
Grace doesn’t discriminate. As Jon Foreman once sang in a song called “Equally Skilled”:
“The godly people are all gone
There’s not one honest soul left alive
Here on the planet
We’re all murderers and thieves
Setting traps here for even our brothers”
We all need grace. We all need the love of the Father. We all need more than “just lucky to be alive, kid”.
We are called to awakened by the hands of grace.