What Did I Just Say?

As a teacher, sometimes I feel like a broken record.  I’m sure other teachers can relate.  I repeat instructions many times.  I review concepts that students should have already mastered.  I remind kids to wash their hands, wipe their nose, and write their name on their paper. Sometimes my students are just not paying attention.  On many a day I will catch myself saying, “(Jimmy), what did I just say?” Sometimes I feel like my students will never get to where I want them to be.

And yet, isn’t that how we are with God?  He gives us countless examples of his faithfulness, his forgiveness, and his sovereign control in our lives.  Still, we stumble.  We forget.  We get distracted.  We don’t hear his voice.  We don’t see the evidence of his hand in the day-to-day of our lives.  Sometimes I can almost hear God saying to me, “Elyse, what did I just say?”

I feel overwhelmed.  God says,

  • “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
  • “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” – Psalm 91:1
  • “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

I feel like a failure.  God says,

  • “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
  • “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him” – Daniel 9:9
  • “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:  The old has gone, the new is here!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

I feel fearful.  God says,

  • So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
  • “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

I am so thankful that I serve the Lord who never gives up on me.  Who never tires of repeating himself.  No matter how many times he has to teach me something, he does it with grace and love.  He takes my hand, tells me to look him in the eyes, and gently speaks truth to my heart.

When I am tempted to lose patience with my students who need me to remind them of something, may I remember how patient God is with me.  He gently pulls me aside and says, “What did I just say?”

Grace

5 letters that mean so much.

Google defines the word grace as “the free and unmerited favour of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.”

In other words, God saves us and blesses us even though we don’t pay for it or deserve it.

Wow.  I have been a believer and follower of Christ for 20 years, and I still can’t wrap my head around how amazing God’s grace is.  In my own life, I have done and thought so many things that should disqualify me from God’s presence. Thanks be to the Lord that He sent Jesus to cover my sin.  Every thought and every action.  Jesus took my sin on His shoulders and paid for it all.  He died in my place.

The Bible refers to Jesus’ sacrifice many times.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says that it is “by grace that you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Romans 5:8 says that “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”.

Titus 2:11 says that “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people.”

In short:

I don’t deserve it, but I am so thankful for it.  Praise be to God!

This has become even more evident to me in recent weeks.  In the past year I experienced a challenging season of doubt.  I was striving to trust God and His goodness, but it was proving to be very difficult for me.  I was seeking Him, praying, and trying to be obedient, but I felt dry.  I felt that my prayers were not being answered. Then all of a sudden, one day some circumstances changed, and I felt it.  An outpouring of His grace over me.  I was astounded.  I knew I didn’t deserve it, and I couldn’t fathom it.  I am not one to get emotional, but I cried tears of joy at the thought of it.  His grace.  His love.  Because really, God’s grace is His way of showing us His love.

So what does this mean for my own way of life?  The truth is that if God has shown me this love, then I should be showing this love to others.  1 John 4:19 says “We love because he first loved us.”  Paul Tripp expresses this principle well.  He says, “I think my job is to make the grace of an invisible God, visible, wherever I am.”

Let’s be honest.  This isn’t an easy way to live.  As humans, we like to keep score.  But, living a grace-full life is something that we should strive for.  Something that we should grow in.  2 Peter 3:18 says “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

May I be someone who rejoices in God’s grace.  May I also be a person who, through God’s grace, can also extend grace to others.