Choosing Grace - One Thousand Gifts Devotional

Choosing Grace

His secret purpose framed from the very beginning

[is] to bring us to our full glory.

1 Corinthians 2:7 NEB

They lay her gravestone flat into the earth, a black granite slab engraved with no dates, only the five letters of her name. Aimee. It means “loved one.” How she was. We had loved her. And with the laying of my sister’s gravestone, the closing up of her deathbed, so closed our lives.

Closed to any notion of grace.

Really, when you bury a child — or when you just simply get up every day and live life raw — you murmur the question soundlessly. No one hears. Can there be a good God? How can He be good when babies die, and marriages implode, and dreams blow away, dust in the wind? Where is grace bestowed when cancer gnaws and loneliness aches and nameless places in us soundlessly die, break off without reason, erode away? Where hides this joy of the Lord, this God who fills the earth with good things, and how do I fully live when life is full of hurt? How do I wake up to joy and grace and beauty and all that is the fullest life when I must stay numb to losses and crushed dreams and all that empties me out?

Is this the toxic air of the world, this atmosphere we inhale, burning into our lungs, this No, God? No, God, we won’t take what You give. No, God, Your plans are a gutted, bleeding mess, and I didn’t sign up for this and You really thought I’d go for this? No, God, this is ugly and this is a mess and can’t You get anything right and just haul all this pain out of here and I’ll take it from here, thanks. And God? Thanks for nothing. Isn’t this the human inheritance, the legacy of the Garden?

Everywhere, a world pocked with scarcity.

I hunger for filling in a world that is starved.

But from that Garden beginning, God has had a different purpose for us. His intent, since He bent low and breathed His life into the dust of our lungs, since He kissed us into being, has never been to slyly orchestrate our ruin. And yet, I have found it: He does have surprising, secret purposes.

I open a Bible, and His plans, startling, lie there barefaced. It’s hard to believe it, when I read it, and I have to come back to it many times, feel long across those words, make sure they are real. His love letter forever silences any doubts. He means to rename us — to return us to our true names, our truest selves.

He means to heal our soul holes.

From the very beginning, that Eden beginning, that has always been and always is, to this day, His secret purpose — our return to our full glory. Appalling — that He would! Us, unworthy. And yet since we took a bite out of the fruit and tore into our own souls, that drain hole where joy seeps away, God’s had this wild secretive plan. He means to fill us with glory again. With glory and grace.

Grace, it means “favor,” from the Latin gratia. It connotes a free readiness. A free and ready favor. That’s grace. It is one thing to choose to take the grace offered at the cross. But to choose to live as one filling with His grace? Choosing to fill with all that He freely gives and fully live — with glory and grace and God?

I know it but I don’t want to: it is a choice.

Living with losses, I may choose to still say yes.

Choose to say yes to what He freely gives.

God of all gifts, thank You. Thank You! For the grace to choose to see. I choose to say yes today to all You give. Do the work in me — I want to more fully live.

From the Book: