Saturday, November 14, 2009

Understanding God's Grace




Last week as I was preparing my Sunday School lesson I got to thinking about Noah.  The Bible says, "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord," Genesis 6:8.  It was a wonderful thing for Noah and his family that they did.  No doubt about that.  God's grace brought them through the destruction of the entire world and all its inhabitants, and through a brand new beginning in a world that was now hardly recognizable.  I wonder about the emotional impact that great flood had on Noah, and more especially, on the womenfolk who were aboard the ark. God made everything new. The Bible says Noah found grace.

But the grace that brought the Noah family through that terrible apocalypse also required Noah to endure possibly a hundred years of ark building while the world mocked on.  As a "preacher of righteousness"  (2 Peter 2:5) he warned the world of God's coming judgment and had not one convert (except maybe his sons' wives). There was much work to do in gathering food for his family and all God's animals.  He and his family endured an entire year of cabin fever in a closed-up boat, eating the same simple meals every day and cleaning up after a whole population of smelly beasts.  When they got off the ark, they must have felt like they had traveled to a different planet.  How lonely they must have been those first few years! 

In my way of thinking, supposing I were Noah, finding grace in God's sight would have meant something different.  God would have come to me and said, "Noah, you have found grace in my sight.  I am going to completely destroy the world and everyone in it, but I will save you and your family.  I am going to make an ark big enough for your family and all the animals I choose.  Your neighbors will be respectful of your faith, and even though none of them will believe you, they won't bother you, either.  In fact, I will cause them to help you gather food for your journey.  The ark will have lots of windows, with strong awnings, so you can get some fresh air in there, and there will be a covered deck so you can go outside and get some sun after the first forty days. When you come off the ark, I will have made you and your sons beautiful homes and fields all ready to harvest.  My grace will make things easier for you."

That's not what happened, though.  Finding grace with God didn't mean an easier life, in fact, it meant a lot more trouble and difficulty and things Noah would otherwise never have experienced. 

So here is what I have been thinking about.  The troubles and difficulties I am seeing now -- are they actually part of God's grace in my life?   I think they must be!  Knowing that these things are part of the process of his grace should make my heart more grateful, don't you think?  I know this.  Every Christian knows this.  But I feel like this is sort of a new realization, like this "bad" stuff really is God's plan for me, and not just obstacles for me to overcome in order to follow his plan.  This IS the plan!  I can trust him with this!  Up until now, I think my understanding of God's grace has been all wrong.  I''ll be chewing on this for a while.




For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8,9




Image from sxc.

3 comments:

  1. Like our pastor, who is about to turn 85, always says..."You're born, you're tortured, you die". lol Sometimes, our job here on earth is nothing more than seed planters, or just waters, and never ever realize the harvest until we reach glory. And esp. us women, I don't recall a single woman of the Bible that was credited as a great soulwinner, but we read of several going through adverstity. It really puts things in perspective when one thinks of them I guess. I was just thinking about Noah yesterday too, about how NOONE in the entire earth other than his family believed - that is just an incredible thought. There is so much delusion both outside and within the church now days. Everyone doing what is right in their own eyes, just like in Noah's day. Soulwinning seems like such an impossible task. When standing up for Scripture, sometimes I feel all alone like Noah must have felt, but it reminds me for "ME" to just remain faithful whether anyone else joins me or not. Sorry, I got a little side-tracked there, but I know what you are talking about. Like another former pastor of ours once said, "Jesus didn't die on the cross just so we could waltz through life on a bed of roses". I thought that was good.

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  2. I loved this post! I have to agree with you on your view of what you would have wanted if you were Noah. I believe I would have wanted everything prepared and waiting for me too:) The thing is, we as Christians want to always blame Satan for all the obstacles that are thrown in our path. I agree with you though that they are"presents" from God made to help us grow. We need to remember that Satan can do nothing to us without God's approval (Job). It is our choice whether or not we fall into Satan's snare or if we rise above them. If Christians never had trials and troubles our Faith would never grow. Blessings! ~ Nikki

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  3. What a great post and needed reminder. Thanks for all your articles!

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