The other day my daughter was working on a Rubik’s Cube. She wanted to know if I could help. I told her that I had solved it years ago when I had put solving the Rubik’s Cube on my “bucket list.” It was after solving it by watching some YouTube videos that I wrote my first blog on a site that I could not even find when looking for it today.
It makes me wonder how things would have been different if I had given up when I was making mistakes in solving it or when I struggle with writing a post. That takes us to one of my favorite books that I have read in the last couple years: The Making of an Ordinary Saint by Nathan Foster. Nathan is the son of author Richard Foster and one of my favorite quotes from that book is, “Yet grace understands my humanness. Grace gives me space to keep going, appreciate the process and accept what I lack.”
I love this. And this “grace that understands my humanness” goes past things like Rubik’s Cubes and blog post to every part of our journey to follow Jesus. God’s grace is with us as we mess up in our attempts to live the complete life that God has for us.
I need to remind myself that, “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.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) This is not just encouragement for those who have just begun to follow Jesus, but those who are trying to grow many years into the journey. God’s grace is bigger than our imperfect attempts to follow Him.
This is not to say we give up trying and just resign ourselves to the lowest common denominator. Dietrich Bonhoeffer warns of that thought in his classic book, The Cost of Discipleship, when he warns again “cheap grace.” It is actually exactly the opposite. When we understand that will always be a work in progress and God’s grace understands that, we respond by getting back up again.
If you like fancy words this is what theologians call, “Progressive Sanctification.” They mean that when you first start following Jesus you still have sin patterns in your life that you will work on and continue to work on for the rest of your life. So be kind to yourself and continue to grow in your love and faith in following Jesus. At some point the struggle will be over when you are with Him forever. It is like what is written on Billy Graham’s wife Ruth’s tombstone: “End of construction-thank you for your patience.”
*If you buy either of the books mentioned using the link a portion of the profits will go to help the ministry. If you prefer not you can simply search for either of those at your favorite book place. Either way I recommend both of them.