Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Abundance of Grace

“Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved him and sent a message by Nathan the prophet.”
2 Samuel 12:24-25b (ESV)
I can remember it like it happened yesterday. I was sitting in the office of the dean for my college when I was informed that the advisory board recommended removing me from school immediately due to my inability to honor the lifestyle covenant that I had agreed to as an aspiring pastor. The shock was deep and sudden. I lost a year of college basketball eligibility, I lost a semester of school (the only semester, ironically, that I had straight A’s), I lost the respect of my peers and the respect of myself. However, this all paled in comparison to driving home the week of Thanksgiving, showing up at my parent’s house unexpectedly and sharing the news with them. Ouch!
By the grace of God, I was able to enroll back in school the following year, spent more time pursuing Christ than pursuing the world, and graduated as a fully licensed pastor ready to serve. Fast forward the tape twenty years and I am still blessed to be in full-time ministry. I learned first-hand that He is truly the God of second chances and that by His grace the hope of the future is always greater than the pain of the past. My own issues brought about a painful situation – yet, the grace of God used it to teach me that He is for me and not against me.
How else can we explain how God responds to the sins of David? Yes, there were consequences (the death of his son). Yes, there was great pain and shame and turmoil (public calling out by Nathan, as well as everybody in the palace knowing the true story). Yet, the very woman that he committed adultery with becomes not only his wife but the mother to the wisest man to ever walk the earth!
The great thing about God’s grace is that it doesn’t take devastating sin to become involved in our lives.
His grace is present when life is spinning too fast and we don’t know what to do.
His grace is present when our children are sick and we don’t know what to do.
His grace is present when our finances come up short, our health is lacking and our friends are absent.
2 Peter 1:2 (NIV) reminds us that grace and peace are ours “in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 

I have no idea what you are walking through today or what your hopes/fears are for 2017. All I know is that God is for you, that He is the God of second chances, and that His grace is sufficient. Cry out to Him, sit in silence with Him, meditate on His Word, but remember that He abundantly pours out His grace in our lives. If He can turn a story of adultery and murder into one of celebration and worship, then just imagine what He can do with your story!
Dear Lord, I so often get tired and worn down and focused on my own needs and struggles. Please remind me today that Your grace is sufficient and that no matter what storms exist or where I have come up short, You are truly the God of second chances. Help me to slow down, to know You more and to rest in the abundance of Your grace.
~ Mike

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