“Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
~Hebrews 4:16 (NRSV).
At times we feel like God’s birthing something big in us, and during these times it can feel overwhelming—the burden of it. This that follows came to me, contrarily, all of a sudden in a worship service very recently...
Salvation as an experience comes to us from God—and we to it—for at least two reasons, one linked with our pasts, the other pertaining to our futures.
1. God’s Saving Us from Our Pasts
Our sin, guilt and shame were dealt with on the cross some nearly two thousand years ago—that’s the fact that the theory of salvation works from. The challenge we have is to ward against depressions and other such ills for the weightiness of the baggage we perhaps are still intermittently carrying from those pre-saved days (or even from the baggage of those sins committed since we were saved!).
The rubber hits the road of our experience with salvation when we begin (and continue) to trust that God really has dealt with those pasts of ours, and we are truly no longer condemned for them. God forgives, unconditionally, and so shall we. Who really are we to hold something against ourselves for which God—the creator of the universe, and the author of life—has forgiven us for?
Sure, we will continue to work out the effects of these sins in our lives, but God is making the very best now out of them. God knows guilt and shame only hinders our spiritual progress and God forgives us so we can be free to move on with our lives. Love would know no other way than mercy.
The practice of assuaging such guilt or shame, however, is a journey. We must take the first step and then the next and so on. Just because it can take years to come to know the completeness of the healing of the Spirit doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start it now. Indeed, we shouldn’t waste any time.
And who really knows when the healing with suddenly break through in major ways... we are confident in trusting God that it will. And we’re doing all we can to assist that process and not hinder it. We should know that healing as a concept is a continual need for us. We all need healing.
2. God’s Saving Us into Our Futures
Our plans, dreams, hopes and ambitions are at God’s stead without condition. We cannot advance on these without God’s engineering the circumstances or otherwise providing us with the capacity or capability for them.
Sometimes the challenge is around anxiety. The fact is we’re probably very anxious to get on with things, perhaps because of our age, stage or some other pressure, and the sense of uncertainty that clings. And if things don’t ‘move on’ we can quickly begin to run aground in frustration and then we face the reality of despair, which eventually shifts us onto depression.
Like the foregoing, we must trust God with complete abandon—that our only opportunities at real and uncontrived happiness are dependent on the total surrender of our plans, dreams, hopes and ambitions to God—again, in trust.
We might ask, “Do we really trust the promises of Jeremiah 29:11-14?” Do we trust God to know what he’s doing in terms of our futures?
Finding Our Personal Measure of Grace
God has trimmed out for us our very own tailor-made outfit of grace accordant to our very exacting needs. This grace works in an eternal frame; it fits with our pasts, our presents and our futures. But we will only ever know this grace—and receive its fullest possible measure—if we go boldly, without fear of cost or encumbrance.
God’s not holding back; we are.
But, then again—without being a disclaimer—God knows the compassion we need to take the journey a step at a time. God knows we can bear only so much.
Many Christians struggle with the idea that if they’re saved they must all of a sudden be ‘happy people,’ re-made or ‘healed perfect’ in God. That’s truly the nonsense of Satan talking. People thinking such things don’t consider that the house of the Lord—the body of Christ—is not only a place we’re freed to belong to, but it’s also a place where we’re ministered to... healing being an ongoing process under Christ and through the movement of the Holy Spirit within the family that is the Church.
If we have a Saviour who was characterised in suffering—who endured so much more than we ever will—don’t we also think that a key message of God’s grace is how to now access this custom-made grace for ourselves.
Why is our sadness hidden? These are not hidden from God.
Surely we’re to open up to the Body—to the trusted souls who are destined to minister the tailor-made grace of God to us, God’s Spirit working through them.
Is it the past that’s holding us back or the thought of an unkempt future? Whatever it is, let’s go boldly to that throne of grace and receive what was predestined for us.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.