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Grace to Sustain

 I am so thankful for His grace. We've talked about how there are threads of race throughout the Old Testament, even though we think of it as the time of the Law. Their culture and environment were harsh, too, so sometimes, we miss grace and mercy. But this weekend, as I was studying through the story of David and his sons, I found one of those strands of grace.

Right smack dab in the middle of 2 Samuel 14 is one such strand. If you read the chapters preceding and following this one, you'll find stories of rape, incest, anger, and murder... who needs TV? lol. We tend to lean toward fairy tale stories and think every one of them has a happy ending. We live in a world where we now expect a happy ending with everyone living happily ever after. This is one thing that has kept me from writing a book about my journey with my son - I don't have a "happy" ending yet. 

But in our lives, some stories don't have a happy ending - or they don't have the desired ending. Neither do the reports of lives we read in the Bible. Cain killed Able. Absalom killed Amnon (his brother too). You can't bring people back, and you can't right some wrongs. We are caregivers living in stories our lives are writing out, and everything about it isn't pretty, even though caregiving is beautiful. 

But in 2 Samuel 14:14, there is a nugget and a strand of grace in a not-so-beautiful story. It says, God tries to bring us back when we have been separated from Him. (NLT, 1996) I think we often don't expect to see this kind of grace in the harshness of the OT. But as I was reading this weekend, it was right there, literally in black and white. An extension of His grace in the midst of one of life's messiest moments. Since we know that God does not change (Hebrews 13:8, Malachi 3:6, James 1:17), we know that we also have this strand of grace extended to us.

Paul was in dire circumstances when he penned 2 Corinthians 12. I've heard it said that it was the darkest season of Paul's life. He prayed and asked God to remove his "thorn in the flesh." What was God's answer to him in that not-so-beautiful moment? My grace is sufficient for you. My power works best in your weakness. (NLT) Even though it wasn't the answer Paul wanted to hear, he went on to rejoice in his weakness, knowing it would allow him to see the power of Christ (grace) working through his circumstances.

Today, I will look for strands of grace. I know that I do not have the strength on my own to make it through a day - but it is God's sustaining grace that empowers me to continue to stand in Him by faith. I'll remind myself that He carries me when I cannot go on, and He will never complain about it either. I will utter prayers of thanksgiving as I place my heart in His hands and care as I try to navigate one more day. Will you join me?


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