Sustaining Grace: God's People, God's Presence In A Broken World
Current blog post written by Becca Wellan. A devoted and caring friend who loves coffee and talking about Jesus. Oh, and did I mention she loves coffee?
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you. He will never permit the righteous to be moved.” - Psalm 55:2.
It’s a Sunday morning, and a friend of mine asks me how I’m doing. I’m tempted to smile, say “I’m good!” and walk away. But, the word “good” tastes bitter on my lips, and I swallow it, along with all the other words I can’t say. With sincerity and compassion, he tells me I can give him an honest answer.
“Honestly...” I look out the window as though the grey sky is listening, too, as her sobs fall in droplets down the stained glass. I start sobbing, too.
“I feel terrible.”
He could have turned away. He could have awkwardly muttered “I’m sorry,” and turned to someone more cheerful, a conversation more comfortable. Instead, he prayed for me. Another friend prayed with us. Then he offered to help me with my practical needs so that I could get through the day.
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you.”
Promises like this have always been mildly abstract to me. Jesus will sustain me? How? I always pictured a wave of superhuman strength taking over my emotions, crashing through every last drop of weakness.
But this never happened.
Verb | en·cour·age | To inspire with courage or hope
In a moment when I felt like my heart was being crushed by calloused hands, and I stood completely helpless, I grew courageous, by degrees, when my brothers and sisters in Christ stood with me. Amidst my great fears, I felt hope. They didn’t try to fix my situation; they didn’t talk too much. They didn’t use Jesus band-aids and Christian cliches (ex. Jesus loves you, you’ll be okay).
But, they held me together. They listened, they prayed, they reminded me of the goodness of God. They reminded me of His power to restore lost souls and heal broken hearts.
That day, in a hundred ways, my brothers and sisters were a source of incredible strength to me. Strength I could never have found on my own. Strength found only in speaking, hearing and believing the truths of Jesus.
Through the Christ-like compassion of God’s people, God Himself sustained me another day.
At the heart of the gospel lies the glorious reality of friendship. Through His sacrificial death on the cross in the place of hopeless people, Jesus, a friend of sinners, brought us into a deep, immovable friendship with the creator of the galaxies (Mark 2:13-17).
We shattered our friendship with sin. He sacrificed Himself to bring us back.
And because He is with us now, the church is called to be God’s active, hope-filled, light-giving presence in the world. Because we are restored to friendship with Him, we are called to “bear one another's burdens” (Galatians 6:2), to “encourage one another” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) and to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
He does not promise to miraculously heal us or change our circumstances though we wait for Him to come in waves of superhuman strength. Rather, He often shows us His grace and boundless love through other believers. God’s people are God’s presence in a broken world.