Grace that will not let go

“Grace amazing grace unfailing
Grace that saves my soul
Grace unending grace unrelenting
Grace that won’t let go”

These are the words of a worship song that was introduced this weekend at church. As a worship leader you can sometimes get ‘use’ to words. As a Christian you get ‘use’ to language. Its not that you mean to but when you say things frequently at times their meaning can be lost somehow.
The word ‘grace’ is something we throw around perhaps at times…haphazardly – without thought or depth or an awareness of the magnitude that it is.

As I sat in the congregation and heard this song for the first time it was also as if I was hearing the word grace for the first time…

I had walked into church that day with a lot of heavy feelings and emotions. I was dealing with some resentments, disappointment and bitterness towards someone that I have brought to the cross over and over. My emotions were very weighed down with sadness and anger. I think we all have those people in our lives that create angst within our hearts no matter how hard we try to ‘get over it’, no matter how we try to accept bad behavior, no matter how much we try to pray for them, no matter how much we don’t want to feel, no matter how much we long to forgive…it lingers. For some of it the lingering comes from a place of deep wounding years old, for some the wounds are new and for others the wounds are repeated over and over. Whatever the magnitude or level is quite irrelevant – if it hurts…it hurts.

I came into the doors of the church that morning wanting relief from my frustration but really more than that…to forgive – again. More than that I wanted to see them how God sees them. More than that I wanted to extend something that was bigger than me. More than that I guess. …I wanted to ‘want’ to give them something in all honesty they don’t deserve in my human opinion because we all know that when we feel wronged we don’t really feel the person deserves grace….truth be told – they don’t deserve it – they need it.

I found it quite amazing that the word of repetition of the song was grace…over and over. I am rarely quiet during worship – I usually sing loudly unabashedly but this time I was quiet – I couldn’t sing a note because grace truly was singing over me, to me, for me and for the ones I needed and must extend grace too. No sound would come out – it was as though the Holy Spirit wanted to hush my own voice so I could hear His. It was as though the song was draping itself in and around me like a blanket to comfort me and at the same time convict me gently of not only my need to extend grace…but to receive it as well.

The word ‘grace’ actually breaks down to blessing, credit, favor – gift.

Have you ever received a credit on your bill? Did you argue it or receive it?

Have you ever received a really nice gift from someone for no reason? Did you give it back?

Have you ever given a gift to a jerk who doesn’t deserve it? LOL – sounds ridiculous doesn’t it and yet THAT is exactly what was being impressed upon me as the word grace, grace, grace was being sung over me and over me and over me.

Just as I was feeling a lack of generosity to the person in my mind who I felt like was a bit of a jerk I was convicted of the fact that by my own sins, by my own records – I too am a jerk who needs grace.
Just like I have received the gift, blessing, credit, favor of grace in my own wounded, wretched heart undeserved how much more am I to give the gift to one I feel does not deserve it? As I pointed my finger — three were likely pointing back at me for faults I cannot see.

I was reminded of a story I have read in the past of the Desert Fathers and their amazing insights – the tale is as follows:
“A brother in Scete happened to commit a fault, and the elders assembled, and sent for Abbot Moses to joint them. He, however, did not want to come. The priest sent him a message, saying Come, the community of the brethren is waiting for you. So he arose and started off. And taking with him a very old basket full of holes, he filled it with sand and carried it behind him. The elders came out to meet him, and said WHat is this Father? The elder replied : My sins are running out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I come to judge the sins of another?! They, hearing this, said nothing to the brother…but pardoned him.” – Wisdom of the Desert – Thomas Merton

Our sins indeed run out behind us outside of our own vision while we view the sins of another …but grace…

“Grace amazing grace unfailing
Grace that saves my soul
Grace unending grace unrelenting
Grace that won’t let go”

Grace unfailing – despite the failings of our own inadequacies, wants, expectations, despite the failings of those around us who fail to meet our needs, love us well – Gods grace covers all of those places.

His grace does not, will not and can not fail you nor has it ever.

Grace that saves – I mean is that not enough?? The grace that stepped into our place as soon as the fall took place and every time after that when we personally take a bite of the apple with our own lips of sinfulness we are saved…grace saves once and yet over and over.

Grace unrelenting – Despite our wandering prodigal heart, despite our pursuit of things outside of
perfect love, Grace is unrelentless in it’s pursuit for our hearts to know and be known by the most amazing grace.
My sins run out behind me and my blindspots remind me to give grace…as grace has been given to me.

Oh thank you God for reminding me how much I need grace – relentless, unfailing, saving grace that won’t let go….