I don’t know about you guys but sometimes God answers some prayers instantaneously, other times, not so much. For example, I was in a relationship that in hindsight, I should have known was not the will of God for me, the relationship fell short. And yes there is grace, but I’m not talking about God-is-still-working-on-us falling short. I mean, our purposes didn’t match, unequally yoked, extinguished-my-passion-for-my-calling kind of falling short. He wasn’t the worst guy, but he was bad for me.
I remember being in a conference, listening to a guest speaker. I honestly forgot what she was talking about cause the Holy Spirit grabbed a hold of my heart and I tuned out while He worked. After feeling convicted that I was settling in an area God didn’t want me to settle in, I prayed silently in my heart.
Lord, remove from my life those things that are not apart of your will for me. If this isn’t your will, remove it.
And just like that. LITERALLY 5 MINUTES LATER, we broke up over the most random of circumstances. God clearly was answering the prayer.
Another time God answered prayer at the drop of a dime; I was on stage getting ready to begin church service. I remember someone talking about all the blessings they were getting from God in the area of career and finances. How can someone living a double life have all of their dreams come true? I thought to myself. And there was I, 28, just had to leave a job I enjoyed for lack of work and now finding myself in the middle of my quarter life crisis like I was standing in the 5ft part of the pool. And I’m 5’3. Drowning in worry as bitterness and the little Pharisee in me crept up. I didn’t understand how God can still pour out grace on someone I felt was undeserving. Even though the actual definition of grace… never mind.
Lord, I am struggling with your grace. I’ve been so faithful for so long and I can’t seem to understand why Stephen the success over here gets gold out of everything he touches. He’s lied, hurt people, and even hurt me. I mean look at Snapchat, he’s living a double life. He’s not even honoring you. How come he gets all this success so quickly and effortlessly? I’ve been waiting for so long, trusting you. When will it be my turn?
Service began and I pushed my little moment in my feelings in the back of my mind to focus on worship. Then my mentor steps on stage to begin preaching.
Low and behold, Jeremiah 12. After reading verses 1-5
Righteous are you, O Lord,
when I complain to you;
yet I would plead my case before you.
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all who are treacherous thrive?
2 You plant them, and they take root;
they grow and produce fruit;
you are near in their mouth
and far from their heart.
3 But you, O Lord, know me;
you see me, and test my heart toward you.
Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter,
and set them apart for the day of slaughter.
4 How long will the land mourn
and the grass of every field wither?
For the evil of those who dwell in it
the beasts and the birds are swept away,
because they said, “He will not see our latter end.”5 “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you,
how will you compete with horses?
And if in a safe land you are so trusting,
what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?
He looked up and said “those who believe in the new covenant should never pray this to God” I sunk in my chair because 2 minutes ago I was just praying that same thing. He continued paraphrasing Hebrews, “The blood of Christ calls out stronger than the blood of Abel. For Abel’s blood cried out for vengeance but Christ’s blood calls out for our redemption.”
God answered this one quick too.
Instant answer to my prayer and instant conviction.
My flesh has a problem with grace.
God’s grace is scandalous and my flesh has a problem with grace. I have a Pharisee in me that rises up on occasion, she puffs me up with pride to tell God when I feel others don’t deserve His grace. Yet, I am reminded and humbled when my little spirit man tells me I don’t deserve this grace either but He rains on the just and the unjust and the truth is that none of us are deserving, not one.
Luke 15:11-32, the prodigal son. It’s a beautiful passage that reminds us of God’s grace, His fatherly love and acceptance even though we have done everything wrong. We are that prodigal son, but once accepted, we sometimes become the older brother. We read starting from verse 25…
25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.
The son heard music and dancing, basically, he heard a party. He got close to see what all the partying was about and he learned the party was for his younger brother, the one who asked for his inheritance ahead of time, took it, and wasted it on reckless living. He goes on,
29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’”
He reminds his father of his faithfulness while his younger brother had been squandering everything given to him. Yet, the father celebrated the younger brother greater than he had celebrated the older brother. We can be that brother, I was that brother. I was telling the father all that I had done while Stephen the success was abusing the grace of God. I was listing the faithfulness I carried for years and telling God how unfair His grace was. God answers us the way the father answered his son in verse 31
31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.”,
Celebrate that someone who was lost is now found, was dead and now lives. Much like we were. We thank the father for extending that amazing grace to us.
I learned that the grace I received, I was not extending. I have been reminded that we were all once enemies of God, yet He still chose to love us and pour out His grace. So why can’t we take the grace that was given to us so freely and give it to others so freely, without unnecessary judgment? He was about to confront me with His grace, little did I know.
On the next post, I will be sharing how God opened my eyes to yet another facet of His grace. In the meantime, please comment below and lets start a discussion.
Have you ever found yourself becoming a tiny Pharisee because you thought someone didn’t deserve grace? How did God remind you that none of us are deserving?