In need of grace?

We must give our secret pain to God, even if we don’t understand it, and even if it refuses to go away… Our hearts are often vexed; we are a mess of mixed motives; we are “strong to be made weak, weak to be made strong.” Blessings and curses come from the same mouth… And yet, despite all this, despite our inner contradictions, the battle between the “old man” and the “new,” this “divided house” of our inner life – our sorrows, our troubles, our fears – we must endure ourselves, we must press on, and we must never let go of hope in God’s love. Never.

Therefore we must not hide from God’s presence, nor pretend to be something we are not. We are invited to come boldly before the throne of God’s loving grace to receive help in our hour of need (Heb. 4:16). O Lord who makes me whole, “heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed, save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise” (Jer. 17:14). O LORD, forgive our sins and heal us of our wounds, or, at least help us to endure suffering with special grace to keep us from being distracted from the truth and glory of your Presence… Grant us strength to abide in your hope, until the last day, to keep watch for the ready hand of Your love… As we go from place to place, from this moment to the next, help us to behold the Sun of Righteousness that pervades our way. Amen.

The fact that God knows the number of hairs on your head means that he knows you better than you know yourself… Your heavenly Father “sees in secret,” and that also means that he can and will save you from whatever is hidden within you that still resists his love and touch… We have to trust in God’s power to heal us, even when it seems that healing is not forthcoming, even when we still find ourselves divided, troubled, and anxious. We have to believe that God’s help is always present. “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who hope for the LORD.”

God sees what He does within us, His “it-is-finished” work, the effect of His great salvation within our hearts, even if at this present hour this may be hidden from our eyes… There is appearance, and there is reality; and only God sees what is ultimately real. We have to trust in His promise to be transformed into the divine nature, even if today we find ourselves sinful, needy, and in disrepair… By God’s grace we are what we are. So don’t give up. We are saved by hope (ἐλπίδι ἐσώθημεν, Rom. 8:24), a hope for you today. [Hebrew for Christians]

Just as Noah foresaw the great cataclysm to come, so we are to understand that the world above our heads and under our feet is destined to destruction, as we likewise await the promised world to come: “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever (וישׁוּעָתִי לְעוֹלָם תִּהְיֶה), and my righteousness will never be dismayed” (Isa. 51:6).

This idea is repeated in the New Testament: “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt. 24:37). “But the Day of the LORD will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the Day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn? But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish and at peace” (2 Pet. 3:10-14).

In light of all this, we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. “For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal… For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead. Therefore we are strangers and exiles on the earth, looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (2 Cor. 4:18; Rom. 1:20; Heb. 11:10,13).

Faith sees the invisible; it reckons and thereby apprehends God’s promise as a present reality… Our father Abraham was promised descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky or sand on the seashore, despite the fact that he was an old man and his wife had long past the age of bearing children. Abraham believed in the One who gives life to the dead and – καλοῦντος τὰ μὴ ὄντα ὡς ὄντα – “calls into existence the things that do not exist as existing” (Rom. 4:17). “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform: And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness” (Rom. 4:19-22). [Hebrew for Christians]

Published by neaseno

I was born on Powers Bluff in Wood County, Wisconsin, into a traditional community of Neshnabek. I was raised speaking only native languages, and learned to speak English upon entering school at the age of 6. As of this writing, I am one of 5 remaining Heritage Fluent Speakers of Potawatomi.

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