Grace for the moment
I am transferring notes from my old Bible into my new Bible (I'm a nerd... but I'm okay with it!). It's been a fun walk through memories, remembering what was going on when I wrote some notes and wondering what was going on when I wrote others. But a note I copied down out of Ephesians chapter 4 has caught my attention and caused me to think about grace tonight. Ephesians 4:7 reads: "But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it." I believe that God decides the amount of grace to give us based on the amount of grace that we need! It just makes sense to me that that is what He would base it on. I guess that is also true for grace as in mercy and forgiveness of our sins, but tonight I am thinking of grace as in the grace that we need to be able to deal with certain things in our lives and in our specific circumstances - grace as in God's provision.
If He gives grace based on the amount we need to deal with our circumstances, then worry is a problem. We typically worry about imagined situations or outcomes that are not yet part of our circumstances. If the imagined situation is not our current situation, then God isn't going to provide us the grace to deal with the situation, and that is why we worry! We truly would be unable to deal with it in our current state, but we would be able to deal with it if it were to become our circumstance. Because as our circumstance changes, so does the amount of grace that God pours out on us.
I lived this experience during my sophomore year of college when my parents were separated (they eventually got back together, which is a wonderful story of reconciliation but not my story to tell). Anyway, during those weeks when they weren't together, I was away at school and removed, but overwhelmed by worry - what would the holidays be like? what would my birthday be like? what would my wedding be like? would they get remarried? would I have more siblings - yuck?! The list of worries and imagined scenarios were endless. For three days I existed like that. Then I received a promise from God in what I wrote down as a poem - He will give me grace to deal with whatever the situation may be (and for a while there the situation in my family was getting worse and worse before it eventually got better), but He isn't going to give it to me a moment before I need it. My job was to live with Him, in His presence, in the moment, day by day.
Don't stress yourself out by worrying! It is completely pointless. You are right - in this moment, you couldn't deal with whatever situation you are imagining because God isn't in it with you, pouring His grace out on you. He is in this present moment, and He wants you to join Him there, where He can pour out the grace that He apportions for you now.
I want to share that poem. During these times of economic uncertainty, the swine flu pandemic, general instability between nations and whatever else is on your heart, I hope you will find peace in His promise...
Grace only for the moment throughout all eternity I will not give it in advance - stay near, rely on me I provided manna for the people every day If I'd given too much extra, I knew they'd walk away I will not leave you empty; my child, you'll be fed I will not leave you desperate; your needs will all be met But you must trust My timing, and you must trust My plan Come rest in My presence; come and take My hand We'll dance out on the water; I'll hold you through the wind The waves are sure to frighten, but you do not have to swim Just hold onto My promises; I'll hold onto My girl I know the fear you're feeling - I know it's a scary world But do not lose your joy; don't deprive Me of your smile It's okay to be hurting, but don't forget that you're My child Find comfort in that knowledge, for that fact will stay the same And you'll never be alone, my child, you have your Father's name And you have your Father's promises; you have your Father's word You have your Father's faithfulness; you have your Father's love The wind and waves still rock you, but I hold you up in grace For the moment it's sufficient, and it's brand new every day