“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV).
His grace is not a “thing”. It is not a something to be used. His grace is the presence of the Holy Spirit empowering us in our weakness. His grace meets us right where we are, and He loves us right where we are. His change is a spiritual healing, and it is a process. If we yield to this spiritual transformation, He is with us each step of the way. “Not only will God and His grace be with you in every step of the healing process, but God will be pleased with you at every step of the process,” David Seamands writes in Healing of Damaged Emotions. “Grace is not a commodity but our Lord Himself coming to us in His graciousness. A loving gracious God accepts us as we are, offers Himself lovingly to us right here and now, not when we shape up.” When we yield to His grace, He is with us in our weakness. Our weakness invites His power to empower and bring change.
We can become so frustrated when we don’t change fast enough. “God is as pleased with you in this process as loving parents when their child starts to walk,” Seamands continues. “Those are exciting days in a home, especially with the first child–the child stumbles, knocks over the furniture. But do the parents scold him, tell him how displeased they are because he isn’t doing a perfect job? Does Dad shout ‘You ought to do better than that, kid’? Does Mother chime in with, ‘That sure was a stupid step you took; no wonder you fell and hurt yourself’? Do you see how we so often have made God into a neurotic parent? If Jesus were preaching His Sermon on the mount, He might paraphrase this idea. ‘If you being evil, know how to do that well when teaching your child to walk, how much more will the heavenly Father be pleased with every step in your healing process?’ (Matthew 7:11). God will be pleased with you every step of the way.”
We are a reflection of all that surrounds us. As children we learned to see ourselves through our parents’ eyes, and reached to meet their expectations. As we grew we learned our identity from the relationships we had with other people. We reflected what other people thought of us. Now God wants us to reflect who He says we are, and not what we have perceived others think we should be. Yes, God calls us to live a holy life. Yes, He gives power when we are weak. He knows change is a process, and He is with us in it! That is the living breathing grace of His presence.
Some of us strive to live up to what we feel God wants for us, and are actually reaching to meet expectations that are not from Him. Perhaps they are misconceptions of that reflection of our childhood, and God is attempting to breathe His grace into our strife. We can never live up to the impossible expectation that He has not placed upon us. He wipes off the false expectations of our lives, and offer us a new slate to begin the process.
David Seamands suggests a prayer. “’Thank you, Lord, that you are healing me according to your perfect schedule.’ You can turn the process of change not into another failure or anger at your slow progress, but into a prayer of thanksgiving for His graciousness every step of the way! Be committed and be diligent to seek God and grow in His grace. Never despair when you climb two steps, and slide back one step. Remember it is a process, and He is healing and transforming you according to His perfect schedule. Here is your promise. “Let perseverance finish its work,” James writes, “so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4, NIV). His grace will destroy the false reflections that have defined who you are, and you will see His reflection of the person He has destined you to be.