There have been several reasons to be grateful this past week. My spirit has been lifted up to The Spirit once again. My soul has enjoyed scriptural refreshment. My physical body is responding to the settling of my mind. I have enjoyed better sleep and the oral psoriasis lesions are dormant. Today is two weeks of having no lesions on my tongue.
Doing this writing exercise over the week and then sharing it publicly has been humbling and challenging. Humbling to be reminded that hope is still something that needs to be practiced and nourished in order to fully realize its blessing. Challenging because I quickly discovered how complacent I have become with my journaling and also transcribing my entries to the computer for publishing. Typing it out is very time-consuming, but it does provide a better media for editing and proofreading before putting it out to be seen by others. Working out a plan has really helped me to stay on task. This coming week I will explore Grace more fully and use a similar pattern to develop my thoughts.
Grace. To see the word on paper it seems so simple. From the earliest days of my Christian journey I have understood grace to mean unmerited, unearned favor. And that it has the qualities of beauty and charm.
The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary definition of grace reads:
- unmerited Divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification. A virtue coming from God, a state of sanctification enjoyed through Divine assistance
- approval, favor; mercy, pardon; a special favor: privilege; disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy or clemency; a temporary exemption, reprieve
- charming or attractive trait or characteristic; a pleasing appearance or effect, charm; ease and suppleness
- used as a title of address or reference for a duke, a duchess, or an archbishop
- a short prayer at a meal asking a blessing or giving thanks
- Graces: three sister goddesses, in Greek mythology who are givers of charm and beauty.
- A musical trill, turn or appoggiatura
- Sense of propriety or right; quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful
And those are just the “noun” definitions!
The verb definitions are:
- to confer dignity or honor upon
- to adorn or embellish
The biblical definition according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary:
Grace is subjective on the part of the Bestower, with friendly disposition from which the kindly act proceeds, graciousness, loving-kindness, and goodwill generally, especially with reference to the Divine favor or “grace” in this respect. There is stress on its freeness and universality, it’s spontaneous character, as in the case of God’s Redemptive mercy, and the pleasure or joy He designs for the recipient; thus it is set in contrast with debt, with works, and with law.
On the part of the receiver it is a sense of the favor bestowed, a feeling of gratitude, in this respect it sometimes signifies “to be thankful.”
I will stop transcribing the copy from the Vine’s expository dictionary here. it is an exhaustive definition.
But, I came across a thought-provoking excerpt in the book, “Walking on Water” by Madeleine L’Engle.
“It may be that we have lost our ability to hold a blazing coal, or move unfettered through time, to walk on water, because we have been taught that such things have to be earned; we should deserve them; we must be qualified. We aresuspiciousof Grace. We are afraidof the very lavishness of the gift.” (emphasis mine)
Wow! What a provocative statement! Maybe because I can relate to it at a visceral level and it causes me to suck in my breath at the brash honesty of it. To be suspicious of and afraid of the gift?
Yet, He gives it anyway, even when our timid faith can’t handle such a gift. What can I compare to that?
Maybe it is like giving a child who wants a pony a wild and spirited stallion? Or to quote an overused adage, “It’s like drinking from the fire hose.” So, my receiving of grace and understanding of grace has as much to do with the result of grace upon and within me.
Is my thinking right? I don’t know. To be given the divine and powerful gift of grace; I’m still afraid of it, as though trying to hold a blazing coal.
Hmmm. There’s lots to ponder here. This should be an interesting mining expedition. Let’s get in over our heads, shall we?