Several years ago when Beth Moore was 'my mentor and bible teacher'
I remember learning the Greek word 'ahar'.
Behind and before
all wrapped up into the same word.
Ahar illustrates how God is both at the same time.
Ahead of us and behind us.
The word made a lasting impression on me and it comes to mind once again as I think about a summer of learning about grace.
What in the world is grace?
When I was in high school I quoted from David's 139th psalm for my yearbook picture.
"You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me......where can I go from your Spirit....your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast."
He has been behind me.
All is grace.
Now I read the words as if I had never seen them before,
"therefore let us come with confidence to the throne of grace
so that we might receive mercy and find grace
to help us in our time of need." Heb. 4:16
Yes, indeed, this is a time of need.
He has promised to go ahead of me.
And He is inviting me to the throne of grace.
Not the throne of righteousness,
not the throne of the saints,
or of the have-it-all-togethers,
those who have no needs, no questions, no fear, or pain,
but the throne of grace- for those who have needs.
For those in need of grace, love, forgiveness.
What is grace?
I am afraid.
I heard a beautiful song. A song of grace sent as a prayer. For me.
Lead us to a place,
Guide us with your grace,
to a place where we'll be safe.
I pray You'll be our eyes and
watch us where we go,
Help us to be wise in times
when we don't know.
The throne of grace. I hear Him inviting me to come....for times when we don't know.
To help me in my time of need.
I begin to unwrap grace.
I am reading. Praying. Thinking.
God is inviting. Reminding. Speaking to me.
I want to run and hide. I don't know who I am. I am afraid. What is wrong with me?!!
And I hear Him say,
"You are loved."
"You are mine."
He comes close and says, "I don't love you because of what you do. Or don't do. Or did. But because of who you are. You are MY CHILD."
I feel like Eve, wanting to hide,
and God says, "You can trust My love for you."
But what is grace?
What is His grace, but for my time of need.
I don't feel what I think grace should feel like.
I feel lonely
who I was
and who I am.
I am emerging from my life
into something new, and I don't know yet what it is.
My time of need.
He hems me in- behind and before.
Today I drive down the road and the morning sun is on the horizon in front of me.
I catch a glimpse of the full moon sitting above the long winding road behind me in my rear view mirror.
He is behind me and before me.
I catch a glimpse of His grace
but I don't see it until I look in the mirror.
Until I look back and remember.
I see the sun
and the moon
at the same time.
It takes my breath away. Beautiful.
I remember His presence,
His strength and peace,
The power in His Name.
When I remember, I give thanks, for His grace and I begin to trust, to believe.
He continues to teach me.
I drive down the road trusting
and thanking Him for the grace in the rear view mirror.
As I give thanks, it is here at the throne that I realize
all is grace;
what feels good... seems good.... tastes good....
as well as all that does not.
What feels like cursing is good
because God is good
and He is the giver of good gifts,
and we are told to give thanks for all things.
And so we thank Him for bitterness,
and receive the grace of healing.
We thank Him for loneliness,
and we receive the grace of His presence.
We thank Him for grief,
and we receive the grace of resurrection. New life.
Only as I remember and give thanks do I see the grace in the reflection,
and at the same time,
the grace of Him before me.
Continuing down the road, God turned my face toward His and gently looked at me from the pond. I have passed by here many times before
but this time God said,
"Stop and look at me."
As I turned my head I saw the boat house nestled in the tall rushes at the water's edge,
reflecting its image into the water. My eyes followed the edge of the horizon around to the other side. A freshly built dock for the neighbor's fishing boat stood above the water. And the reflection below. My eyes looked to find the line of the horizon that divided the dock from its reflection.
The water was still.
The reflection clear.
My eyes could not see where the Creator ended and the image of the Creator began.
The image in the water perfectly reflected what was standing over it.
When the water is stirred, the image is not so clear.
In that moment I remembered-
only when I am still,
can I reflect His perfect grace
that is behind me and before me.
Be still. And know
that I am God.