Getting Your Grace On

I saw a meme the other day: “I’m sure looking forward to getting back to precedented times.” Boy is that the truth or what?

One of main things that I have been struggling with during this time of COVID-19 quarantine and the social unrest in our society is my reactive nature to be critical about so much that is going on. I am troubled by how the leaders in our state and country are handling the Coronavirus situation. I am frustrated about how our law enforcement are handling the protesting (or rioting) that is going on in the name of social justice. My heart is troubled by so much of what I see going in our world and I feel so powerless to affect any change. Sometimes I just want to hunker down and hope that all this trouble blows over.

Am I alone in my struggles or can you relate?

You know, being powerless to affect change is so often the reason we get angry and frustrated and experience hurt and pain. I truly empathize with the righteous struggle of our brothers and sister of color in wanting to see real social justice and reform that emulates true and real equality. I completely sympathize with those business owners and employees who have lost income or jobs due to decisions made and “passed down” to “us peasants.”

Anger. Frustration. Pain. Hopelessness.

The Apostle Paul experienced something that caused him real anxiety, perhaps even anger and despair, though we do not know exactly what the issue specifically was, and he literally begged the Lord three times to relieve him of it. In response to his pleading, the Lord gave him this answer: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9 NKJV). In response to our Lord’s gentle reproach, Paul continues, “So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am. Yes, I am glad to be weak or insulted or mistreated or to have troubles and sufferings, if it is for Christ. Because when I am weak, I am strong” (vv. 9b-10 CEV).

I was rebuked in my spirit when I read this Scripture earlier this week. And in light of what our society is experiencing, which indeed impacts us as the church, I do not want to be angry and frustrated or to just “keep my head down ‘till this all blows over.” I want to be grace-filled and offer hope in Jesus’ name.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Rich

P.S. John Lewis passed away on July 17. He stood with and marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr. during the racial reconciliation protests of the 60’s. He served in congress with the purpose of trying to make positive changes in our laws. He wrote an essay that he asked to be published posthumously. I was moved when I read it. He had a “thorn in his flesh” his whole life yet he relied on the grace of our Almighty God to give him strength and encouragement to serve: