Thursday, August 18, 2016

Choosing Grace

Before I ever type a word, a blog post forms in my mind. Sentences tumble over one another and sometimes disappear before I have a chance to give them form. Often, the well-written post of my imagination doesn't quite live up to expectations. I begin typing and wonder where all the "amazing" went.

I've had a post about caring for my elderly father swirling around my head for days. It involved how difficult it's become and how, very likely, much of it could be traced back to my childhood. I ticked off all the ways my less-than-gracious behavior has been totally justified. The point, I suppose, was making myself feel better. The more I mulled it over the less justified I felt. Then I read Laura's Story's book: "When God Doesn't Fix It," and I jettisoned the post altogether.

If you are struggling with questions about why God doesn't fix the difficult, unbearable problems in your life, I believe this is the book for you. She doesn't offer nice, neat answers or ten step programs to make everything all right - or even to make it all make sense. I know that sounds counter-productive, but Laura points us to scriptural truths and practical wisdom that will encourage your heart and draw you into a closer relationship to a Father who loves you.

Back to my post. One of the things Laura said in her book drove a little arrow right into my heart. I can look at those moments with my Dad, when everything is out of control and so hurtful, and see them as opportunities for grace. Instead of responding with anger, I can choose to respond in love. Instead of listing all of the things I can justifiably feel upset about, I can remember how much grace has been extended to me.

The astounding truth is, that when I do that, not only do I show kindness to my Dad, who is struggling with so many difficult things right now, I too am blessed. I don't go through my days carrying bitterness and anger - and guilt for not handling things well. There is a lightness - and a certain joy that comes with knowing all is well in my heart and between me and the Father who has lavished grace on this rather selfish heart.


picture credit: Charlie Hang