For every grace denied...

grace received buttercups
God is not the God of some grace—like bygone grace.

He is the God of “all grace”—including the infinite,
inexhaustible stores of future grace.

Faith in that grace is the key to enduring
on the narrow and hard way that leads to life.
     ~John Piper, Future Grace


I haven’t actually prayed that the weeds in the flower bed would just go away. [Not that God couldn’t do it...but...]

So I can’t officially say it’s a “grace denied for why it’s taking me so long to pull the weeds this week.

But in the midst of the hard work, I uncovered a new patch of buttercups that I didn’t know were there. And wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t had to spend hours in the dirt.

A grace received.

The apostle Paul did ask for weeds to be removed, from his body anyway (2 Corinthians 12:7-8). Haven’t we all?

  • Lord, don’t let me catch that virus before my trip!
  • Please remove this burden from my child.
  • Won’t you do something about his job, Father?

But God’s grace doesn’t always show up like we want. Paul was denied the grace he asked for.

He was given another grace instead. Sometimes it looks like a better situation (uncovered buttercups!); sometimes it doesn’t.

The grace given to Paul was...

“…in the form of Christ’s sustaining power in unrelieved affliction—one grace given in the circle of another grace denied.

And Paul responded with faith in the sufficiency of this future grace: “Most gladly, therefore, I will boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).”
     ~John Piper, Future Grace

What looks like a total grace denial...
  • You catch the virus and miss your trip
  • Your child’s hardship grows harder
  • The job stays stagnant

...may perhaps be a grace given, if we only have the eyes to see it that way.

Can we? Can we have those eyes? To see through suffering?

Only with faith.

  • Faith in God’s goodness to give you the right grace at the right time
  • Faith that his goodness is bigger than what your finite mind understands
  • Faith that it might take hindsight from heaven before you fully see the larger picture of his goodness

But his grace is always coming. You can count on it.

God may not pull you out of the jam like you want, but he’ll put something there to sustain you in it. Maybe to sustain you until death? Maybe.

Either way, be encouraged that he’ll follow up a grace denied with a grace given. Trust in God’s goodness.

May the sufficiency of his grace given sustain you.

* * *

When were you aware of receiving a better grace than the one you asked for?

Are you holding onto faith right now in a situation that appears graceless?

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13 comments:

Joan said...

Hi Lisa:

Good post and in regards to jobs I had a grace denied and a grace given.

I was in a terrible situation at work a few years back. I dreaded every day that I had to get out of bed and walk into that office. I prayed that God would remove me from there and started looking for other employment opportunities. (Even though I know that God had placed me in that place and position.)

Things became so difficult that one day I almost walked away without having another job lined up. My husband and I were participating in a play through our church - it was at Easter time. That evening at play practice, my pastor came up to me and asked how I was doing (just in the course of normal conversation). I told him that I had almost quit my job that day and he stopped right then and there and prayed for me.

It wasn't long after that my situation changed. I didn't leave, but the person that was making me so miserable left. I'm still at the same job and loving it.

So yes, I had grace denied and grace found. God knew all along what was best and His answer for my situation.

Sorry this response is long. :)

Blessings,
Joan

Brenda said...

Lisa, this is so good and so true. I seen it so many times in my life. Wonder how many times we have received grace and not recognize that we have? Or think we didn't get it because He didn't answer as we wanted Him to.
GRACE=God's riches at Christ's expense.

Judy said...

Thank you for thought provoking post today..as I read it the chorus came into my head..'Grace there is my every debt to pay, Blood to wash my every sin away, Power to keep my spotless day by day, For me, for me!' God bless you, Judyx

Virginia said...

Amen to this Lisa.Well written and full of truth.
Thank you and many blessings,
Virginia

Jamie said...

I appreciate this post in so many ways. I've seen grace come in ways that I would have preferred not - but was more blessed because of His timing and ways than in my own desires. My son was severely injured and took his vision in one eye and health from him for a number of years. The subsequent treatments, recovery period and mental and physical things took a toll on him and on our family at large. This accompanied a rebellious and depressed period for him - everything continued to get worse and I will admit that I fretted most of the time even though I had earlier instances of having seen God's grace and mercy lift us up. But, the entire thing, now that we are settled into just "maintenance" for the next little while 6 years on, has given my son such a standing in life. He's much better than I think we could have hoped for without having all the trials and suffering. In fact, I think it likely saved him.

I stand here now, with having an adult child "run away" at the age of 19...and we're closing in on the year's anniversary of our complete estrangement. It has been difficult not to fret and grieve again, I'll admit that my prayers are specific for what I want and for what I desire and what I in a gut-level know to be for the best...but I know, too, that I have stood here before asking for things and feeling that at least for a time God was remaining silent. I am calmer, however, than I have - He's walked me through the sorrow and anger, I just trust He's working on the "other side of the tapestry" - whether that will produce the image I hope for in my head or not, I know that it will be for the best.

Lisa notes... said...

Joan,
I appreciate the long response. God’s grace isn’t always neatly summed up in a sentence or two. Your story is a significant one of how God can turn a situation around without removing us from it. So thankful he worked out your job situation so that you enjoy being there. These are faith-building times.

Brenda,
I was thinking this morning how God did this for our family last year by letting Daddy die first. We all had been praying that he would outlive Mama because he wanted to take care of her until the end, but because he left early, we kids got to take care of Mama in a way we wouldn’t have otherwise. And even though it was very hard, it was a precious experience that drew us even closer to her and closer to each other. God knew what he was doing after all. Go figure! :-)

So yes, I too wonder how many times we receive grace and don’t even recognize it to thank God for it???

Lisa notes... said...

Jamie,
Sounds like you have been through much in the past few years. I understand the fretting in the midst of things, even though you know God has been faithful in the past. I’m really focusing on working through that this year with the Spirit’s help. I’m thankful that your son’s situation ended up better than what you had hoped for.

I pray the same will come true for your 19-yr-old. I can’t imagine the angst that could produce but it sounds like God and you have been working together to come to a place of peace. As you wait…praying God’s richest grace on your family.

sarah said...

this was really good Lisa. For a long time I didn't understand why God wouldn't give me something I needed but now I get it. He let me struggle then so I can share hope now. Hope your sunday was the best.

Ginger~~Enchanting Cottage said...

I pray that the Lord will give me grace at the right time,like you said, I do have faith that he will.
Blessings,
Ginger

Barbara H. said...

I'm guilty of wanting the grace "out of" rather than the grace "through" the rough patches, even though I know the Lord has things to teach me there.

Donnie said...

This is a lovely post.

Katie said...

Oh yes, I have held on tight, when life seems so hopeless. But God has been so wonderful and faithful. I love this post. Thank you it spoke right to my heart.

Charlotte said...

Well said, Lisa. His grace is sufficient. Amen.
Blessings,
Charlotte

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