Striving Or Riding The Current of God’s Grace?

Emerald color Soca river with beautiful narrow canyon, Bovec, Slovenia

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.   2 Corinthians 12:9

 Last night, I had quite a dream.  I was in a large auditorium.  It was packed with strangers but also sprinkled with people I recognized.  The best of my friends, even my parents, were there.  The program for the evening consisted of a full-length opera followed by a full-length concert tagged on at the end.  The artist on the program was me.  I had been asked to do the impossible; to sing and speak after people had already sat through a marathon length performance.

When the opera ended, the lighting on the massive stage began to diminish.  The elaborate sets were dimmed until they were barely visible.  What was left was a grand piano bathed with the glow of a lone spotlight.  I was aware of a holy calm as I climbed the stairs to the stage.  There had been no rehearsal and I had no particular program in mind.  I sat on the piano bench, thoughtful, eager to find opening words.  And then they came.  “There is a current of grace, God’s grace, and when you find it ~ you can ride it, not fight it, by picking up your feet to be carried effortlessly by the Spirit.”  The next hour flew. The concert became a holy benediction where we were all swept up into the current of His grace.  We were unaware of time, unaware of the changes that came over us through the Spirit’s influence.

For every performer, the stage is a life-long bedfellow.  As a young pianist, then flautist, then singer, then teacher, life on the stage is second nature.  Yet, along with it comes perpetual striving against the backdrop of spiritual immaturity.  Performance is always accompanied by reviews and one’s life can easily be summed up by a long collection of others’ opinions.  You were good or you were not.  You were talented or you were not.  You were a natural teacher or you were not.  You were biblically sound or you were not.  You were worth inviting back or you were not.

It’s oppressive.  Some time ago, I realized that somewhere along the way, my striving ended.  I learned how to find God’s current of grace on a stage, to think about those who were attending rather than myself, to think about tracking with God’s thoughts rather than my own.  The stage has become a platform to love others, to speak what they did not anticipate hearing, and to provide an environment where each can enter that sacred space where God speaks.

Writing a daily devotional is like taking the stage.  But this morning, as you read this, I hope that you will be caught up with me into the current, that you will pick up your feet and be taken into the heart of God where there is strength, peace, and transformation.

Jesus, let this current become so familiar and intoxicating that each of us will be startled when we put our feet down on the riverbed, only to find ourselves fighting against Your current.  Make us aware and discontented to live that way.  We are called to Your river to be baptized into what is otherworldly, the favor of Your love and the mission of Your kingdom.  Amen

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