“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 ESV).
Do you ever feel as though God is just out of reach? Like He’s distant at the times when you really need Him? Or, as comedian Bill Engvall mentioned, when God tests you, do you wonder if God knows you’re only a “C” student?
Lately those thoughts have crossed my mind. As one thing after another is piled on my plate, I wonder if I’ll ever be able to get past the liver and brussels sprouts to get to the peach cobbler baking in the kitchen.
I know that I’m not alone. We all go through hard times. We all are given opportunities to see that in Christ we are stronger than we think. And I’m learning that sometimes we miss out on seeing God’s grace because we have a certain expectation of what grace looks like in our particular situation.
But grace doesn’t always manifest in the same manner as in our salvation. When we received Jesus, we were saved by grace, lifted up out of our sin and sin nature. But sometimes grace shows itself in different ways. Grace doesn’t always lift us out of our problems. Sometimes grace is revealed in an understanding ear and a gentle hand on our shoulder. Sometimes it’s a simple reminder that God is in control, and we need to surrender to His control.
The apostle Paul, who perhaps knew more about grace than anyone else in scripture, understood this. Paul tells us that he had a “thorn…given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me” (2 Corinthians 12:7 ESV). He prayed three times that God would take it away, and each time God replied, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (v. 8). You see, deliverance from his trial was not provided, only the grace to endure it.
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5 KJV). What if God the Father had shown grace to Jesus by removing Him from some of those wounds? Would there be some things that wouldn’t be forgiven? Would we be able to be saved at all?
It has been my experience that God’s grace is never late, regardless of how we may feel at the time. We may not always recognize it right away, but that, like so many other things, will come with experience. Our scripture tells us that we can come before God with confidence because it’s His desire to help us. And we will find grace to help…just in time.