Thank you for your title suggestions! I’m preparing to speak at a breakfast for grieving parents in PA this Saturday so I’ve not made a final decision—but you will be the first to know. Today’s post is a sample from the yet unnamed book. The accompanying passage is 2 Cor. 12:7b-10.
Lord, I Depend on your Grace
But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession.
2 Corinthians 2:14a
I have thorns. They are afflictions from my loss, throbbing reminders of what no longer is. They prickle and pain me, sharp mementos of a tragedy I can’t undo. If I find a comfortable position they are quick to pierce my peace and, like old injuries, they throb in stormy conditions. I have prayed for them to be removed, but God tells me the same thing He told Paul, “My grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
What does sufficient grace look like? It is strength when I’m bone-weary. It is peace when I’m disordered. It is contentment when I stop striving. It is one more step on a path I never wanted to walk. It is offering words of comfort from the well within me. I have enough grace for God to radiate from me and reveal Jesus.
God’s grace lifted me from bed in my lowest days. It propelled me out the door when I wanted to hide. It enabled me to smile in darkness and stand in a crowd. That may not sound like a triumphal procession, but they are my victories and could only be realized through grace.
I will press on—by God’s grace. I will grow strong—by God’s grace. And at the end of my life’s journey, I will join the triumphal procession to glories I now vaguely imagine. And so will you. We will be thorn-free and forever tell of the grace that carried us home.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
— Isaiah 9:2
This prophecy from Isaiah had to seem like a lifeline for Jews living under the darkness of Roman rule. Their situation was untenable. They were powerless in their own land and longed for a Messiah to save them, the dawning of a new day. We empathize with their desperate hope that a light would rise in their dark world.
We also live in shadowy times—right and wrong is blurred, values are muddled, and self is exalted. Shades of gray encroach on truth and its light is dimmed. Like the Jews, we cry out, “How long, Lord?” The difference from our darkness and that of the Jews, is that the Light has come. We see the great Light they longed for… and sought to extinguish. His name is Jesus and His light is in us. We are not delivered from the perils of this world but it lives and pulses in us, shining its hope as we live in this land of deep darkness until the light of His eternal kingdom dawns.
Let every Christmas light—the twinkling white fairy lights, the glowing colored bulbs, the flickering candle flames—remind you a that Light shines in our darkness… and it leads us Home.
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11
It’s appropriate that this final post about God’s hands falls on Thanksgiving. If our hearts have felt full from the blessings of God’s hand on our lives, they will swell even greater as our attention turns from our blessings on earth to the blessings that await us.
In Heaven we will revel in countless, unimaginable, overwhelmingly joyful, deeply satisfying, searchless, never-ending blessings for eternity—pleasures we will find at God’s right hand. So when you give thanks around your holiday table, be sure to include the blessings God has stored for us in heaven.
“I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” — Isaiah 49:15-16
Take a moment and look at your palms. The lines you see are called palmar flexion creases. The three deep, prominent creases should look familiar to you since you were born with them—they actually began to form around the 12th week of gestation. These creases are not without purpose according to scienceabc.com. They allow the skin to adapt when our hands are active—stretching, folding, bending, or fisting. With out them, our skin would sag (not a pretty thought).
What does God see when He looks at His palms? I don’t know if He sees three creases on each hand, but He does see our names. They are engraved on His palms, prominent, inside His grasp, present during every God activity. The Bible tells us we existed before Creation—I wonder if we were on His palms when He created the world.
We are so precious to God that He etched our names on His palms—permanently, no ball point pen or felt-tip marker. Every time God extends His hand, He sees our names. He will not forget us!
I hope you feel as special as I do.