G- God’s r-Race
“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9
When Paul asked God to remove something causing him pain, the Lord replied;
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12: 1-10
Paul’s thorn in the flesh was positioned to keep him humble concerning the great revelations and his unique calling to the Gentiles. It was to keep him reliant on the Lord to do only what God can do.
The Christian life of sanctification, transformation and growth is compared to a race where the victory is already won through Jesus Christ with the Father waiting at the finish line greeting every believer entering the place of victory- His Presence. Philippians 3:14
As believers, we are not in competition with one another, rather in this race we encourage each other onward in faith. ( 1 Thessalonians 5:11) I love the film illustration of “Chariots of Fire” where the Olympic track runner, Eric Liddell is determined to run the race for God’s glory.. In the film you see him struggle as he falls, but then gets up to finish the race and win. You also see how he encourages other runners and how they encourage him. And when it comes to acquiring His Olympic dream vs. glorifying God, he had no problem with the choice. What seemed to be the decision of imminent defeat turned out to be a glorious victory for himself, his teammates, country, and ultimately for God. In essence, he ran with God’s grace which was more than sufficient in his crisis decision to not run on the Lord’s Day.
Every day we can experience God’s grace in our life. He wants to give it, for without it we can do nothing to glorify Him. So, why do we fail to include him in “everything”?
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 4-7
I am learning to include God in all aspects of my daily activities and the very first thing I do every morning is to rise early enough to spend time in my Bible, devotional book and have a one on one conversation with my Lord. During this intimate exchange,if I am attentive, I hear His small still voice directing me to put away any anxiousness and to trust Him for that day.
It happened that I found myself in three precarious situations which required for the Lord’s grace and intervention. This particular morning I was scheduled to bowl with my league at 10:00 am. It happened I became involved in a very engaging conversation with my grand-daughter and lost all track of time. When it dawned on me to check the time, it was ten minutes to 10:00 and there I was still in my pajamas as though I had no place to go. I didn’t want to let down my bowling partner.Suddenly, I switched gears and decided to throw on some clothes and just make it to the bowling center when I could. But then, I remembered to put away the anxiousness, and laughed at myself for neglecting to be ready on time. On the way, I remembered God’s Word where He mentioned to Paul how His grace was sufficient for all his circumstances and so I began to believe it for mine. It turned out I hit every red light on the way, but I found myself thanking the Lord for His grace, knowing somehow I would make it on time. I not only made it on time but was there even before the time allotted for practice. It was so nice to just relax and let the anxiousness go, and see how God’s grace in my minor circumstance would work. He was faithful to do it.
That same day, It happened to be my grandson’s birthday and I promised to make him a chocolate cake. I got the bright idea without testing it to double the recipe for each cake pan, so the cake would be bigger than I normally make it. As I was baking the cake, I peaked in the oven and saw the huge swell in the center, realizing the cake would not bake the same as the package indicated with the double mix. Sure enough, when it was time to take it out, it was done around the sides but nowhere near done in the center. I knew that the cake would be overly baked and did not know what to do. So I shoved the pans back in the oven and added ten minutes more to the bake time. I then remembered again, the Lord’s faithfulness and grace and prayed for the Lord to give me the grace to make this cake a success for the sake of my grandson, whom I did not in anyway want to disappoint. When I took the cakes out after the ten additional minutes, they were perfectly done. It turned out they were perfectly formed. It was the prettiest cake I’ve ever made.
Well, I would like to say that was the end of my minor dilemmas for that day, but it happened that I was to babysit for my great-granddaughter that evening while my grand-daughter attended class. It turned out that Evie, a rambunctious toddler did not get her nap and while I was taking care of her I still had to ice the cake. When her mother left at 5:00 she threw a fit. I was to leave the house by 6:00 to be at my grandson’s family birthday dinner, but could not find my way to finish the cake. Suddenly, again, it came to my mind to trust the Lord again for His grace, and so I prayed. I settled down feeding my grand-daughter her bottle and just relaxed. Why get anxious, I thought. We will get there when we can, and I know somehow it will work out. I was able to place Evie in the high-chair where she struggled not to fall asleep. I plopped some of the chocolate icing on her tray and placed her in front of the cake to watch. Turned out, we left the house with a beautiful cake and a toddler without a nap perfectly calm. As we rode to the house, I again asked the Lord for His grace to keep Evie calm and at peace throughout the dinner Birthday celebration. She was a perfect angel and acted as though she had slept all day. We were able to enjoy the Birthday dinner and then go home.
As I looked over in her direction she was sleeping soundly in her car seat, I remembered to thank my Lord for His sufficient grace for all my little crisis that day, and learned, once again, I really do not have to be anxious for anything because I can always take everything to my Lord and be at peace. His grace, is indeed sufficient in everything, even in the little things.