Grace in the midst of the grind
Can we all just pause and admit that things are not normal, and that it is okay if we don't feel normal? There are few things in life more exciting or more stressful than change. Change brings the possibility of newness. But new things are also frightening, because we fear what we do not know or understand. So many of us are under a tremendous amount of stress. We are trying to figure out how to home-school our children. We are learning how to do our jobs almost completely differently in some cases. We are dealing with the fear of COVID-19. We see change and instability all around us. Businesses are closed. We are stuck at home. You would indeed have superhuman self-regulation to not feel the strain and stress of it all. This Sunday I will be preaching about "Being Productive in the Pandemic." But I don't want you to feel overwhelmed by yet another thing to do. The Christian life is a balance of grace and works. Any preaching about grace benefits from preaching about good works so that we do not become complacent. Conversely, any preaching about good works must be balanced by grace. It says in Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV), "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." We cannot earn God's love or mercy. These are freely given to us in Christ. Grace is the foundation of the Christian faith, the Grace of God coming to us through the Work of Christ. Any work we do then is a response to grace. So take a moment and give yourself permission to feel overwhelmed by it all. Then lean back into the arms of God, into the arms of grace. We are not God, and if we try to be, we will burn ourselves out. We cannot be all things to all people. We cannot be fantastic parents and workers and teachers and citizens all at once, all the time. We will fail at much of what we are tying to adjust to. Give yourself permission to fail. Give your family permission to fail. Few people get a new thing right the first time. If we allow grace to catch us when we fall and lift us back up, and if we persevere, we will get better, and things will get better.
God, you never fail. Be we often do. Thank you for your mercy and your grace that meet us at our lowest moments and bring us back up. We pray for a deeper experience of your grace for ourselves in this challenging season, and we pray that we might show that same grace to others so that they might be lifted up as well. In Jesus' name, Amen.