Evidence of God’s grace
This blog has been a little quiet lately. I know. It is hard to balance writing a book, parenting four little children, working full-time, living overseas, and sending my husband off to grad school. Does that list make you feel anxious? I have to breathe deeply when I consider everything on my plate right now to keep from feeling overwhelmed.
Although I’d rather retreat from the world of social media for a few months to finish my manuscript, I know this isn’t really wise. The topic – reforming international adoption and orphan care – is too important. So I’m going to try to do things differently. I’m going to let you all in. To what I’m thinking about. What I’m struggling with. The stories that inspire me. Challenge me. Destroy me. Selfishly, I am learning so much on this journey. I want to share. I hope you will join me as I pursue the heart of the Father of the Fatherless.
When our family lived in Seattle, we went to a church that occasionally invited people to stand up and share the evidence of God’s grace in their lives. Most of the time, people would share the amazing things God was doing in their lives. There were lots of stories of cancer healed, marriages restored, addictions broken, jobs provided, babies born. There were sometimes stories of people meeting Jesus. Occasionaly there were tearful prayer requests.
Over the last week, I have been working on one of the most challenging chapters in my book. It is chapter seven, The Father’s Hands. It is about how we as God’s people are called to protect and provide for orphans. As I was writing the chapter, I spent a lot of time studying Exodus and Deuteronomy. And then Isaiah and Ezekial. And then Matthew and Luke and James and Hebrews.
So much of the time, studying the Bible admist exhaustion and stress is hard. It is hard to focus. To pay attention. To make sense of books like Daniel when I can’t quite wrap my head around ancient history. But this last week, as I opened the Bible to read familiar stories, God opened my eyes in a new way. I couldn’t get enough of the truth I was reading.
Near the end of this week of study – and fruitful writing – I found myself in Matthew 25. Jesus is on his glorious throne. The nations of the world are gathered around him. He is the judge and he is about to separate the sheep from the goats, the righteous from the cursed. And then he says something really radical:
“‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and we gave you drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:35-40
Jesus is not teaching that we are saved by our works. We are saved by the grace of God. But the evidence of God’s grace in our lives is how we treat the least of these.
It is not wrong to remember who God is or what he is done. God calls the Israelites to continually remember they were slaves in Egypt. But they are not simply called to remember that God redeemed them from slavery. The act of remembering is to motivate them into living differently.
Put another way, God’s people are blessed to be a blessing. The evidence of God’s grace in our lives is not just how he has blessed us. He is gracious and good and loving and just. And so much more. But if our lives are not marked by compassion for the least of these, is there any evidence that we have received his grace?
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