Tuesday, July 7, 2015

grace for the weak

Been down a little lately because I haven't arrived yet. My perpetual struggle. When will I be what I want to be? 

When will I be like my friend who does a lot of awesome stuff every day? When will I be like my friend who reaches out to those around her on a grand scale? 

When will I be like my friend who is totally sold out for Christ and all Esther-like and "if I perish, I perish"? 

When will I be like my friend who is the Best Mom Ever? When will I be like my friend who never gives up no matter what?

Never, that's when.

But not because I'm less. I'm not less. I'm right where God wants me to be. 

Romans 12:3 says, "Each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned." 

In her book, Extravagant Grace, Barbara Duguid explains, "We are to think carefully about the fact that it is God who assigns what kind of faith we will have. We don't get to make that decision! God gives strong faith to some and weak faith to others according to his wisdom and plan." 

So it's his fault, basically. Duguid goes on to say that God has assigned varying amounts of giftedness and grace according to his will, not according to what we wish he would do. A fact which summarily negates the above list of gals I compare myself to. I can't just try harder and be stronger. I can't even "just believe." Rather, I must submit to God's will and work with the faith and gifts that he has ordained for me. 

"It is a devastatingly painful thing," says Duguid, "to be a weak Christian in the American evangelical church today. So much emphasis is put on reading, praying, growing, and victory that there isn't much room left for those God is holding on to with a strong arm." 

Me. That's me. God is holding on to me with a strong arm. I am one of those whom Duguid describes as having just enough faith to be counted as belonging to Christ, but who through the severity of life circumstances that God has assigned and the devastating effects of shaping influences can hardly remember the gospel from day to day.

But it doesn't matter. In Christ, I am also one of those whom Duguid describes as cherished, washed, clean, and wrapped up tightly in the perfect robes of Christ's goodness. Where I have sinned, Christ has obeyed in my place. Repeated failure, which for me produces that nagging, depressed feeling of having not arrived yet, does not mean God is tired of me. Just that he has called me to a difficult struggle and he will hold on to me in all of my standing and falling and bring me safely home.