There’s One story in this world. There’s One Big Picture. But there are millions upon millions of canvases that have been painted and placed just so in order to display the most amazing mosaic ever created. An array of colors and textures, all brought together by a single Artist (who’s also a skilled Architect) with a single, life-changing story. A story of grace – grace upon grace.
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
- There are four types of people in the world (Psalm 107): the wanderers (v.4), the prisoners (v.10), the fools (v.17), and the faithless (v.23-24)
- We are all unique individuals with unique stories
- Despite all our differences, there’s one thing that binds us all together: GRACE
- Each of us has received grace upon grace (John 1:16) through Christ Jesus – it’s just a matter of whether we recognize it or not
Some went down to the sea in ships,
doing business on the great waters;
they saw the deeds of the Lord,
his wondrous works in the deep.
For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their evil plight;
they reeled and staggered like drunken men
and were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
Some of us witnessed the marvelous works of the Lord, but our faith was lacking. Some of us experienced His boundless love, mercy, grace, and patience, but didn’t put our trust in Him. We knew He was a God of miraculous deeds. We knew He was a God of great power and might. And yet our faith wavered. We were control freaks, constantly measuring and analyzing and “perfecting” our lives. We were in control; we were in charge – or so we thought. Suddenly our lives took a sharp turn for the worst. Chaos ensued. We were drunk on ourselves, filled with ourselves. Pride had overcome us, dragging us down into a drunken, swirling stupor until we could no longer stand or think or move without reeling. No longer were we in control. In the midst of our pride and arrogance, the Lord made it clear He alone commands the waters, He alone is sovereign, He alone has ultimate authority. As we began to understand and submit to His authority over our lives, we suddenly experienced a clarity never before known. We experienced a calm, a peace of divine proportions. He embraced us with His everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27) as we violently thrashed against His hold. And as He embraced us in His arms, He sang over us with joy (Zephaniah 3:17), stilling our raging hearts with His relentless love.
Note the escalation of this particular “redemption story:”
- Man saw the works of the Lord and yet refused to trust Him
- Man reached the end of themselves
- Man humbled themselves and cried out to God
- The Lord delivered man from their specific distress in the most fitting way
- Man thanked God for His love and providence
Fellow former faithless ones, what is our response to His unwavering faithfulness to us despite our lack thereof? Do we tell of His wondrous works to us in the midst of the whole congregation? We see that command countless times throughout the Psalms, but do we actually obey it? Do we thank Him for removing the veil from our eyes so that we could finally see Truth? Do we thank Him for putting up with us? Are we constantly, consistently, ceaselessly praising Him for saving us from the empty lives we were living before? Because we should be. Constantly. Consistently. Ceaselessly.
To the still faithless: What’s stopping you from trusting Him? The Lord has always been near. He has always worked all things for your good (Romans 8:28) – even when it doesn’t seem that way. He has always been patient with your fickle convictions – with your fickle love. He has always been merciful to you. He has always been gracious. But there will come a day when the grace and mercy that has been offered to you will not be available any longer. There will come a day when you will have to face the consequences of your decisions – whether it be for your good or not. But know this, regardless of what you choose, He WILL be glorified in the end. Whether by your redemption or by your eternal damnation. Stop waiting to get your life together before you turn to Jesus. He wants you just as you are – right NOW. Stop believing in “religion” and start believing in Christ! Open your eyes, friends!! He is all around you! Every breath you breathe is by His divine power and will. Every sunrise and sunset is by His divine orchestration. Every act of earthly love is by His initial and far greater act of divine Love. Oh faithless ones, put your trust in Him! He is worth it. He’s more than worth it. Count the cost. It’s nothing compared to the peace from Him, joy in Him, eternity with Him.
In all four redemption stories, we see a pattern of events. As different as we are, we have all been bought by the same precious blood of Christ. And so regardless of our pasts, regardless of our stories, we must always, always thank Him for His steadfast love and praise Him for His wondrous works to us!
Grace upon grace has been extended to us in grace. Let that thought sink in for a minute – BOUNDLESS grace has been given to you IN grace. To put it in a much less eloquent way: It’s a GRACE sandwich with GRACE filling. Only our sweet Jesus can love us in such a way. May we never take His grace for granted, but always live in the light of eternity.