For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
For do I now persuade men or God? Galatians 1:10
I brought everything I needed to the conference. I had my pass, my journal, my Bible, my thirst for the Word, and my self loathing. I had come alone. Many groups had formed on either side of the sanctuary , but I sat alone in the middle in a chair on the end.
I was so grateful to be there. I needed a word from God. I felt for months I had been struggling to hear Him confirm His plans for me.
Then the time came for the speaker to begin the simulcast. I wrote down every word out of her mouth. It was living water that drowned my parched soul. I would need it again.
At break time there was a time for prayer. Prayer partners stood at the front of the sanctuary. One woman in a wheelchair with a beauty about her countenance prayed over us all, and before she could get the invitation out of her mouth I all but ran to her. I knelt beside her and said, “Please pray for me. I cannot stop hating myself.”
Another woman overheard and they both prayed for me. I felt the arms of God enfold me draped in the presence of Jesus with skin on women.
I felt safe. They didn’t know me, and I liked that. The sister in Christ in the wheelchair pulled up next to me and stayed with me the rest of the day.
We wept together and worshiped together. I wondered why that was so hard with my own church family.
Then I realized it was me. I feared them. What they thought of me. There is a bondage in our churches many would never expect. The leadership, the saint on the front row, and the one who volunteers for every workday and service opportunity have.
They are bound by works and fear. They forgot that grace drowned their sin, and pours Tsunami proportions upon them each moment of the day.
Free to Serve, Not Serving to Be Free
Beloved we are freed to servanthood not bound by servitude.
How about you? Are you raising your hands in praise or drowning in your self loathing? Are you a silent sufferer? Could you recognize one?
After the conference that day I stopped at a local beloved bakery. I got a round birthday cake with butter cream icing, and had them write a name across the cake. It read, “Grace.”
The thing I remember was that this was a cake representing the bread of life. That I could have my Grace and eat it too.
When I arrived home I made myself a heaping helping, and divided up more for the family. We sat together and celebrated grace that drowned our sin long ago. And, you know we had plenty leftover. Just like the disciples at the feeding of the five thousand.
Grace always abounds. It overreaches the boundary of our sin. Beloved, bring your shame into the light and watch it disappear in Jesus’ sufficient work on the cross that He declared finished. There is more than an eternal lifetime of grace for me and you and the world too. Now that’s the good news.