The Lord has been showing me a lot about grace lately. It is so much more than anything I ever thought.
The more I learn about the grace of God, the less I know, and the bigger the mystery.
The more challenges I overcome, the more feeble I sense myself to be.
The more I am favored, the smaller I feel.
I say that because the grace of God is so grand a thing, I feel as if I could drown in it sometimes. Drown isn't the proper word, I know, but for lack of a better one at the moment, it is the one I will use.
I don't mean drown in a negative sense; on the contrary, if grace were an ocean, I would want to go under and stay under for good. I would want to be swept under by the strongest current, and plunged into the deepest depths. Unfortunately, I've experienced almost drowning in the natural sense, and being taken under is probably the most frightening thing I have experienced in my life. Sensing the grace of God in my life is akin to that same experience, just without the terror.
Facing different trials at times has been frightening, but I have been overwhelmed by the Lord's willingness to bail me out on a dime. And in those times when he has not bailed me out, seeing what he chose to do instead is just as overwhelming. These trials have been things that I don't think I could have faced a few years ago. I was too feeble-minded, and by that I mean too dependent on my own wits and wisdom, of which I had very little. It really is true that a man's ways seem right to him, but in the end they lead to death. I was at death's door spiritually, and had no clue. I loved the Lord, but I was completely bound by religion and all of my ways (doctrines) that seemed right to me.
When most of those doctrines began to be proven wrong one by one, I felt completely lost. It was then that I began to experience grace and what it truly means. However, even with all of my sacred cows being totally skewered and my entire picture of the Lord being erased and re-painted, I wasn't quite prepared for the sight of grace in action that I witnessed last Sunday.
In the midst of incredible miracles being wrought through his hands, Pastor Edouard in the Congo experienced the kind of loss that no parent ever wishes to experience. His three month-old son, John Wesley, fell ill suddenly with pneumonia and died. He had faith to raise John Wesley from the dead, as did the four men from our church who were there with him, and fought valiantly just for the opportunity to pray for his baby after he had been taken to the morgue. After overcoming several obstacles to get to him, in the end, John Wesley was not raised.
Pastor Edouard faced intense persecution from his own wife and family, but that did not discourage him. Even after putting his son in the ground, the same faith that he used to open blind eyes, cast out demons, and heal countless afflicted people was not the least bit weakened. He continued to worship the Lord with all of his might, and went right back out that same evening to preach the Gospel in the villages. He even prayed for our four men before they left to come home, with the same joy and peaceful countenance that he had when they arrived a week before. Now that's grace.
The cool thing is, that is the same grace that the Lord wants to pour out on all of us, all of the time.
Hearing the testimony of what happened in the Congo and seeing Pastor Edouard's videotaped greeting for our church changed all of us who were there. It was truly powerful. Our associate pastor, Ryan, has posted it in several parts on his blog. I posted the link to the first part the other day. You can go here to read the rest. (The picture on Ryan's blog is a photo of him and Pastor Edouard.)