At an Ellel weekend course we were invited to spend some time thinking about God’s grace. For many years I’ve read about grace, studied what the Bible says about grace and even preached and taught about grace. Could God show me something new – something I’d never seen before?
So, as I sat there, I asked Him just that: “Please, Father, show me something about Your grace that I’ve never seen before”. And he did!
I’m standing looking at a wonderful, open space – not empty, but a great expanse of rich countryside: hills, fields, woodland and hedges. He’s holding me by the hand and saying, “Come, my child, let me show you what’s mine and what I’m giving to you”. As He leads me, I become aware of something strange but incomparably beautiful. The wonder of this countryside is not its natural richness, but the overwhelming pleasure of being led through it by Him. It would be nowhere near as beautiful without Him.
Then He shows me a valley. It’s dark. “Are you going to take me there?” I ask. “Yes, my child. We will go there together”. But as we enter it, it becomes transformed before my eyes into a place of light and peace and dappled shade.
As we walk on, my confidence grows, and I let my hold on His hand slip. At once the scene changes. Darkness closes in and the delight of the place vanishes. “Why have you let go, my child?” He asks. And then, gently, so gently, “Come, hold my hand again”. And, once again, as my hand touches His, the valley is filled with light.
Together we return to the open countryside. It looks better than ever. But – and this is the truly amazing thing – it is no longer the glorious landscape that lifts my heart. It is the inexpressible pleasure of feeling my hand in His and knowing that He is holding it because He wants to do that more than anything else.
We walk for a while in complete silence. Then He says, “You asked me about My grace. This is My grace. Walk with Me. Hold My hand. Then you’ll know what My grace is”.
What He showed me then is so simple, yet so vital. Of course, the things He gives us are grace. But His heart is, more than anything else, to give Himself. It’s not just to give us resources for the journey; not even to fill every situation with light. What He wants most of all is that we should know the extraordinary joy of putting our hand in His and experiencing the delight of His touch. That’s grace!
Prayer: Father, I come to You now, as Your child. As I put my hand in Yours and walk with You, I commit myself to keep my hand there, knowing that Your grace is all I need. Amen.