Welcome GraceBreak Cycles. Embrace Grace.
I have blind eyes. Not the eyes that see the snow falling and melting on a day in May. Or see the way the blackbird’s head shimmers like teal taffeta, but my heart eyes are blind and, probably, yours are too.
We see mountains and think we’ve got to move them. We see loss and feel we can’t acknowledge our pain. We screw up and look for something or someone to blame.
Our eyes are blinded by our perception of life and love.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” Ephesians 1:18
Without knowing God as love and resting in the fact that his crazy, impassioned love is directed towards us, we will falter. We will fail. We will stay stuck in the cycle of the try-harder kind of life.
But the try-harder kind of life isn't the transformed kind of life. It is a blind kind of life. Click To Tweet
That’s what grace is for. It’s to transform us. Grace isn’t there to pat us on the head and let us live in our sin and filth. It’s there to transform us into a truer reflection of God himself. Grace helps us to lay self down and guides us to live a Spirit-led life.
But that blindness? The blindness of the heart? It prevents us from seeing how God works all things for our good and his glory.
So our mountains may actually be a place to meet with God. Our storms may be just the thing needed to sweep the landscape of our heart clean. The fire might be what’s needed to burn the dross away.
But sometimes I don’t want to see that the pain I’m experiencing is for my benefit or the swirling and twirling unsettledness is for my good. And so I go blind. I become blind to seeing how God is working and moving. I fail to look for him in my circumstances. I fail to see that He is only good. Then I dismiss the revelation that He is only light, and when I choose to look at just the darkness, that’s all I see.
God is love. He is light. But we sometimes cannot see this because our pain supersedes the truth. Our circumstances overshadow his love. We make God small in our eyes and our circumstances large.
Then we can no longer see his love.
But it doesn’t have to stay this way. We don’t have to stay in the place of heart blindness. We can see love because God is love and if we ask, he will open our eyes to see it. His love transforms. His love causes repentance and redemption.
Imagine? That mountain, that fire, that trial? Imagine looking at it with eyes wide open to the hope and love that’s yours in God. Does it look a little different? Can you look at it and not feel abandoned by God, but wrapped up in his love?
It’s a daily battle–this battle for sight. But the peace that comes when we can see his love and know his love brings a sense of security and safety that carries us through darkness.
Mountains. They’re beautiful, unless they’re in my way. And then they become a nuisance. I know that a 5 mile drive on the prairie will be a quick trip, but a five-mile drive through mountains is not.
I’m use to moving at a fast pace, but when I run into an unexpected spiritual or life mountain I stomp my feet and command it to move. Then when it doesn’t, I throw an adult size temper tantrum. When the temper tantrum doesn’t work, I try whining because I think that might be more effective. Then when the whining doesn’t work, I give God the silent treatment. Mature? Moi? Nah.
I treat mountains, those things that crop up in my life unexpectedly, as destructive forces out to destroy my life. This is me when I’m self-absorbed and self-led instead of God-absorbed and Holy Spirit led.
But God reminds me of the things I know and the things I need to remember:
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.” Psalm 62:5-6
God is my hope. But life sometimes distracts me.
He is my rock, my salvation, and my fortress.
Why, then, does life shake me?
Because it’s far too easy to place our expectations in what we can control then to place our expectations in the One who controls everything, but seems so unpredictable.
But this mentality is faulty from the onset. We cannot control anything. We think we can because we have calendars we dictate. We have jobs we perform. We’re mothers and fathers who are raising little human beings. We decide whether we’re going to take the direct route to our destination or the scenic route.
It’s this control that we cling to that deceives us into thinking we’ve got it all covered. Then when something, whether it’s a sickness, an internal battle, or job issue becomes a mountain in your way and nothing you can do causes it to move, that’s when freaking out happens.
We worry and fret. We question God and ask: “why in heaven’s name isn’t he moving this mountain?” We try to invoke the name of Jesus and still the mountain doesn’t move. So then we come full circle and pull a grown-up size temper tantrum, whine, or give God the silent treatment. Sometimes we even try and hold our breath in protest.
God is our hope and our rock. Mountains are made of rock. And maybe God is in the mountain and he wants to meet you there.
Maybe God is in the mountain and he wants to meet you there. Click To Tweet
Our hope, our expectations can be placed in the most trustworthy one: God.
So the next time you run into a mountain, don’t assume it needs to moved, maybe, just maybe it’s a place to meet with God and be transformed. Maybe your mountain, that you want moved more than anything else, is actually a holy place.
It is finished–at least the beginning.
With Christ’s death and resurrection the beginning has ended and the eternal journey begins.
It is finished! No more wondering if we’re enough, because we are.
No more questioning whether Christ really is who he says he is, because he is.
It’s the end of the beginning. The end of wandering, the end of separation from God and the try hard life.
Jesus is our beginning and end. The veil that separates us from God is torn and now his love is accessible through the One who was torn, beaten, mocked, and killed for us.
We all have the same beginning: darkness and bondage even when we think we’re free and in the light. But when self rules our hearts and our lives, we become enslaved to what self wants: what we see, feel, and experience.
Christ has come to set us free from the tyranny of self. Christ defeated death so that we may live a life holy and set apart for him. So, you see, Easter really is the end of the beginning.
We get to live the middle part now. It’s the part of life between our resurrection from spiritual death to life, and the day when we see Jesus face to face in eternity. How well will we live?
Will we falter and fail? Will we doubt and question?
Yes and yes. But we have a power available to us. A power that says that “greater is he in me than he that is in the world.” And this I know: it’s grace that enables me to live this life for Christ, through Christ, and in Christ.
It’s grace that transforms me. Grace enables me to give myself up for a living sacrifice. It’s grace that enables our lives to be set apart and holy. I crash and burn when I try and live for Christ through my strength and understanding. I know failure well.
But the beautiful thing we get to experience in our failures is redemption. It’s redemption that makes getting back up again possible. It’s the daily resurrection of my spiritual life when I make “self” the number one motivator in my heart.
I want to live this middle life well, but I know how life gets monotonous and we forget what we did this morning let along two days ago. And when life gets monotonous I forget to look around and see evidences of grace in my life.
Or life is one crisis after another and rather than holding onto the anchor of grace we flounder and hold onto ourselves and our limited understanding. Crisis’ can blind us to the redemptive work of Christ in our lives.
It’s the end of the beginning! Your beginning steps are over and done and now it’s time to run. Run the race God has for you with your eyes fixed on the prize–eternity with the Father of Light. Let him shine that light into all the recesses of your life and keep on running.
You’ll make it. How do I know?
Because God is your strength. He is your love. He is your light. And he will finish it.