We are a people that don’t understand grace. That the good things in our life, our accomplishments, down to the very air that we breathe are not things that we have earned, but things that without the grace of God, would not be existent.
Our families, our jobs, our health and wellness, and our very lives are good gifts and blessings that have been given to us from the Father above. And as gifts, they can be given and received, but they can also be withheld and taken from us at a moments notice. Job, after the plundering of his livestock, and death of his family proclaims “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
Job in a way that many of us can’t fathom, had much and lost much. Yet, in his loss, he was able to see clearly in a way that many of us fail to see. That what he had, all of it, even that which he had seemingly earned such as his wealth, and livestock, and land, he viewed as a unmerited, undeserved gift of God’s grace to him.
We many times do not react the same way. When our graces are taken, and gifts that we feel that we deserve are withheld, we stomp our feet in anger and frustration. We throw a fit, like an insolent child who has his very favorite toy or game taken away from him. “It’s mine!” We shout. Yet, it is not. Grace is not ours. We do not own grace, yet we act as if we do.
Last night, the Lord gave me a very clear picture of what grace is like. I was enjoying an evening, watching some TV, when a friend of mine texted about my Disney plus account. He said that he had been logged out, and needed a code to get back in. At the moment, I was not able to retrieve the code, and I apologized, but his response was one of whining and complaining.
But why should he whine and complain? He had not earned the Disney plus account. He did not pay for its subscription. I was the owner, yet, I allowed Him to experience the fullness of movies and TV shows and Mandalorian goodness out of the kindness of my heart. Yet, when that very thing that he had come to enjoy was taken from him, his response was not understanding, but one of bitterness and frustration.
And then it hit me. This is exactly how we treat God when he withholds our graces and our gifts. We act as though these graces and gifts were ours to begin with. But they were not. As Job pointed out earlier, we came into this world with nothing, and we will leave with nothing. Everything in between is fully the goodness and grace of God in our life. And this grace is not based on our merit, our works, our effort. It is fully based on the love and wisdom of God. He does not give us what we deserve because what we deserve is far less pleasant. We have earned death. Yet, through Christ, He has freely given us life.
When we live as though our lives, our graces, and our gifts, and blessings in our lives are not ours, then we can live open handed lives. When the 2020’s come around, and our health and wellness are put in danger, and our securities are questioned, instead of shaking our fists at God in anger, we can instead recognize the unmerited, undeserved graces that we have received to this point, be thankful for what we have received, and even in the midst of the hardships, though not understanding, we can trust God that He is still working all things for our good.