Often, my journaling takes me to places of reflecting on what it means to “live grace” along the way. Part of me has oddly expected that my need for grace would somehow diminish over time, that I would “get things together” more and more until my daily need for grace was a distant memory from my more “immature years” as a Christian. Maybe my reflections below will help you reflect on your own grace journey.
1 Samuel 2:6-8 – “The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; upon them he has set the world.
As I reflect on Hannah’s humble prayer, I realize that there are some things God sends that I don’t really like. For example, I only want God to send seasons of want to the “bad guys,” but sometimes your faithful people have lived with little as well.
Paul shared with the Philippians that he had learned deep contentment right in the middle of unfulfilled needs, unmet hungers and unaddressed wants (Philippians 4:10-12). I find contentment easier when I am circumstantially satisfied. Who wouldn’t! It seems God allows a great variety of welcome and unwelcome places in my spiritual journey so that I learn that He alone is my Portion and Treasure.
Praying: “Father, You are also the One Who humbles and exalts each one as You wish. Recently, I was talking with a friend about the hunger for honor and recognition I find often rising up within me. I forget that true honor comes from You. Can I come to rest here? Enable me to recognize that You alone give true honor. May my honor come as my life, by Your grace, comes to honor You more and more.”
“He lifts the needy from the ash heap.” I don’t like that phrase “the needy.” I’m happy to have a random need here or there, but I surely don’t want to think of myself as needy. I don’t want to admit that I have many needs or deep needs. I’m slowly learning, though, that my needs are where I receive grace.
Grace seeks places of brokenness, weakness and emptiness to touch, heal and fill. Can I learn to boast, with Paul, about my weaknesses, rather than always trying to show off what I think are my strengths (2 Corinthians 12:10)?