"In the darkest of our times,
God is plotting for our glory.
If we would believe this and remember it,
we would not be blind when God reveals His grace."
~ by John Piper ~
A Sweet and Bitter Providence: Sex, Race, and the Sovereignty of God
I am blessed with a husband that has an extra gift of faith. There is rarely a moment in our discussions and plans that he is not firmly seeing God's hand in it. Good, bad, indifferent--God is a part of it. God's sovereignty is a core element in our lives.
Grace, on the other hand, is not as elemental. Often we are focused on, 'God is at work' that we miss 'God is showing his grace.' Because we accept his sovereignty we are able to cope with the difficult times. But, sometimes, we could do more than cope. We could rest in his grace and mercy.
God does not allow the difficult in our lives just because he can. He allows those times to develop our character into the ministers he desires us to be. That is not harsh. Even when it feels harsh, it is about more. It is about softening us to be molded into his image. And he does that with grace.
Have you ever seen someone work with a diamond saw? That is a saw that can cut through the hardest of materials. Most likely, you have seen the operator keeping a continual stream of water on the object being cut and the blade--because it works best that way and does not overheat. The focus is not on the water, but on the cutting. Yet the water is crucial to the process. In the same manner, we may be feeling the cut of harsh times as God is carving away parts of our life to make us more useful. The cut is the focus. It is the most important result. But his grace is the water, that keeps the blade working and us from 'overheating' in the process. The goal is not to destroy us, but to make us better. If we only focus on the harsh, we miss the joy of the grace offered during that time.
Feel like you are in a crucible? Know that God is working something new in you? It may feel harsh at the time. Remember that it is in his sovereignty that he is developing your character and ministry. But as you accept his sovereign right to change you, look for the moments of grace that he allows you that keep you from being destroyed.
Father God, as you mold my life and character to be a minister for you, help me to see your grace in the moment. Amen.