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It happened a year ago August. I had left a sweet meeting with my dear mentor and I was unglued in the best sense of the word. We had gone into the depths of some painful memories and I had wept and been freed up even more. Jesus is relentlessly, yet patiently excavating my heart and digging out the remnants of old hurts and bringing up the wounds so that He can breathe healing all over them. Each time I meet with my mentor in this way more and more of that old gets sloughed off and there is a fresh wind of peace and joy blowing through the open spaces. But the wounds are often fresh when I leave her and I feel more vulnerable and tender for a time. Healing is like that.
This meeting was no different and on the way home -- my long two-hour drive back to my life and family -- I was looking for something to listen to as I drove. I finally turned on my laptop on the passenger seat and pulled up my audiobooks file. I have this habit of downloading free audiobooks whenever they are available so I quickly scanned the list. Not knowing who wrote what, a title struck me: "All of Grace." I hit play. As the author's name was spoken, I thought, "hmmm ... maybe not." I know this author, C. H. Spurgeon. I have his devotional, "Morning and Evening." I do respect him and gain so much from his writings, but he is also a person who was very exacting at times and I knew I was a bit tender and needed kid gloves that night. I reluctantly continued to listen and bit by bit the message sunk in. When we are vulnerable, there is not much to defend us. What is heard sinks in without a wall to keep it out. I can't find words to explain what happened as I listened, but it was as though the very voice of God were speaking these words of grace to me, personally. I drove those two hours, hearing from God through the most unlikely and unsolicited source.
I heard God say that He justifies the ungodly. It comes into all our minds -- and it surely had come into mine -- that somehow we need to be good enough for God to want to have anything to do with us. And I have spent years doubting the true love of God for me. But, there, in the dark of my car, alone on the freeway home I heard it: God does not come because we are just, but to make us so. This old truth was made new to me that night. It is simply impossible to convey the miracle of an awakening. I had knowledge of this truth, of course, but in this unexpected moment, grace broke through. And it broke through like a dam breaking. I felt the rush of newness and the freedom of Jesus' forgiveness. In the same book Spurgeon says that we can have a recumbant relationship with God. I think of that often now. How I can lean back as in a chez lounge and find rest. It is because of grace that I can relax into God. Dallas Willard used to say grace isn't just for the sinner -- the godly burn it up like a jet burns up fuel. We need that grace and we have it in abundance. Can't you just feel the wind of freedom and joy? It is not just wishful thinking, it is the ground on which I now firmly stand. I've had a grace awakening, and I just can't be the same again.