Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Choose Joy Day 6 -- By Grace Alone

"I've been thinking lately about the distinction between pain and suffering. 

Pain is a constant part of my daily existence.  Im so accustomed to the pain now that I dont consider it suffering as much as I used to. But there are physical moments when the pain causes real suffering. The moments when it escalates and is unrelenting to the point of making me sick. I physically suffer. 

Emotionally, its called a pit of despair for a reason. A hole can be dug inside us so deep that it seems everything good has been excavated from our lives.  A pit is dug. And despair is the first visitor that wants to knock at your door.

Its in those moments when I pray for God to get me out of His way. Its those moments when I stop praying for what I want and start praying for Him to change my heart for what He wants. It requires me to trust Him completely. That doesnt change my physical pain. It doesnt change the loss. But it does change the suffering.

It allows me to not answer the door to despair and instead invite His presence into the pit. The pit that looks jagged and deep, which turns out to be a God-shaped hole in the center of our beings. A hole that is dug by circumstances and choices, and is filled with His grace.

I am in pain. He has made sure I dont have to suffer."   ~Sara Frankl

No matter what type of pain we go through...physical, emotional or spiritual, the pain we experience teaches us the value of what we have lost and sometimes what we have taken for granted. 

I remember the day Sara asked me to come be with her. That day when the realization set in that her life was coming to an end here on earth. The emotional pain was overwhelming. That pit of despair started digging it's hole. It was knocking on my door. 

God's Grace is "the power of God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves".  And the fact is, we cannot do anything for ourselves.  Jesus says, "...without me you can do nothing."  ~John 15:5

It was in that moment that I needed God's grace. "By Grace Alone." Those words kept going through my head. I prayed...asking for His help. His Grace. Without His grace, I was lost. 

Graced by God's presence we learn that while we are less than perfect, who we are, by God's grace, can be enough. By God's grace, each day can be lived with hope and purpose...and with His grace, we can Choose joy.

You can learn more about Choosing Joy and God's grace in the book, Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts.
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