Thank You for Grace {...I am I pulled this from the archives...}

{Trying to rest and get better.  So.  A little long, but hopefully worth your time, this is a dip into the archives - it was one of the posts from my 31 Days Project}  

Your middle is as ordained a season in your life as your beginning was, and as ordained as the day of your end.  God births your beginnings, and He sets the time of your completions.  But He sings over your middle!

"The Lord thy God in your middle is mighty;  He will save, He will rejoice over you with joy;  He will rest in His love, He will joy over you with singing!"  (Zephaniah 3:17)

How can He do that?  How can He sing over our middle?  Has He looked at your middle lately?  Has He noticed mine?  (It's a hot, hot mess...)

Here's how:  He is confident in His great love for you.  He rests in it.

It reminds me of my teacup poodle Rambo.  Bear with me, I promise this will make sense, maybe.

I've heard some incredible Bible teachers and preachers in my short time on this planet. I've heard them use majestic metaphor and substantive simile. I love the depth that has been illustrated for me, time and again, by solid thinkers in The Faith - some are well-known, some, like my own husband, little-known.

Try as I may, my mind won't work majestically. I sigh and I try, and therein lies the problem.

When I tune into my life as it really is, in all its quotidian acedia (oh, do look the words up - they are delicious to say, but bitter to live) the revelation of grace can come honestly. Like the revelations to be found in puppies and cookies.

It is no secret that I adore my puppy. He is a teacup poodle named Rambo, and he is aptly named.

In fact, my puppy sometimes acts appallingly, and I still smile. I delight in this little dog no matter what.

A few years ago, I examined this anomaly. You see, I was known, back then,  to be ever-working to improve myself, and therefore took unbridled delight in almost nothing. But I took disturbing delight in my poodle...everyone found it disturbing, because his misbehavior had almost no affect on me whatsoever.

I decided this was because I had no fear for this animal's future. God bless all those who believe that puppies have eternal souls: I do not. Therefore, no amount of spoiling on my part will send Rambo's soul to the Lake of Fire. This dog is "eternally secure".

In a sense, his future is fully known to me: he will live in the lap of luxury and love, and one day die. That will be that (and yes, I will grieve terribly). Nothing in terms of Rambo's ultimate eternal destiny is up in the air. He can't misbehave his way into Canine Judgement. He can't bite hard enough to hurt a toddler.

I am utterly free to delight in my dog.

When I stop to consider these majestic metaphors, I realize: the Lord delights in me! He knows the plans He has for me. He has forever settled my ultimate destiny. (Yes, only because I have trusted Him for my righteousness!)

No amount of "misbehavior" on my part can shake Him from His great love for me, in Christ Jesus. Far from being antinomianism, (and unlike Rambo) this kind of good news actually makes me want to heel - to follow close by my Owner's side forever.

Poodles and antinomianism and eternal security aside (after all, a mind can only take so much splendor) I also sometimes wonder why baking cookies for grown-up kids isn't so much fun anymore.

Used to be, a batch of cookies was a day-maker. Making a couple of sheets of home made chocolate chip cookies had the potential to bring inner healing to four children who, on some days, were fraught with naughtiness and discord.

Ah, but now they are All Grown Up. They are adults, all of them, with jobs and net spendable income. Two of them are married, with babies of their own.  They can buy these treats for themselves, anytime they want. They can work for them.  Cookies from mom don't mean what they used to.  Now, they are just a nice gesture.

As it is with the free Gift of Grace. It is precisely when we think we have matured our way "past" it, that the gift begins to lose its luster. The fun is taken right out of living in it. The truth that used to make our day and heal our hurts, now is something we can earn for ourselves. And we "get blessed" for our efforts.

Well.  Whatever we can earn for ourselves must be pretty common and obtainable. Thus, when God offers grace to us, His grace is reduced (in our minds) to merely The Nice Gesture.

A Nice Gesture is entirely unable to change us. 

Hear me - hear me well! Don't rob God (and yourself) of the delight and fragrance that should characterize piping hot, fresh-from-the-heart-of-God, sweet grace. You will never be able to work for it, you cannot obtain it on your own, all ideas of any righteousness of your own are a dangerous illusion.

This is where the metaphor breaks down, as it isn't a dangerous illusion at all for my children to buy their own cookies. See why I sigh? My metaphors aren't majestic enough.

Oh well. It is what it is. Puppies and cookies and grace.

"LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me..."     ~Psalm 131:1

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