Grace in Hard Seasons | Walking Worthy: Grace in Hard Seasons

Friday, March 7, 2014

Grace in Hard Seasons

Grace: the merciful kindness by which God, exerting His holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues

This description of grace utterly blows me away. I have been in a hard season of ministry. I have fought the Lord the entire way. I have argued, asked God to take it away, asked God to take me back, tried to fix it on my own…oh the list goes on.

As I studied Ephesians 2:4-7 this week, I was smacked in the face with this definition of grace. God through His grace exerts His holy influence on believers to strengthen and increase their faith, knowledge & affection of Him. As I read this definition over and over, all of a sudden things became clear. The disconnected pieces of what God was teaching me suddenly fit together. And God gave me a glimpse of His grace. Just not the kind of grace I am used to.

Hard seasons are an act of His grace. The grace of refinement.

God allows the hard seasons as an act of His grace in my life. Paul Tripp said: Many times we are moaning in the midst of ministry and wondering where the grace of God is and we are getting it, the grace of refinement, not the grace of relief.” Oh, how I have asked for relief. And His sweet gentle answer to me is NO.  No, this is for your refinement. My grace is sufficient to you.

You see refining grace is not the kind of grace I am used to. I am used to the grace that saves and I am used to the grace that covers sin. But refining grace hurts, it exposes, it’s harsh at times. Refining grace is difficult to swallow. It is goes against what feels natural. Yet it is the grace that forces me to deal with my sin, reminds me of my need for Him. You see His saving grace is also His refining grace. They are one in the same and cannot be separated. The same grace that covered my sin, is the same grace that continues to expose my sin. It draws me to repentance and in turn transforms me into His likeness.

Hard seasons remind me I need Jesus

I am confident that I need the hard season to see my need for Jesus. My lack of power allows me to see the One, who redeems and is my only source of hope. My hope cannot be in what I know, how great I think I am, or success in ministry. Hope is only found at the feet of Jesus. Hard seasons remind me how desperately I need to hope in Jesus instead of myself and that is His grace.

As I think about this grace of hard seasons I am reminded of Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 "And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." And I know I must stop, remember I am weak, and seek to find my hope and delight in Jesus. He is what I need. He is the grace in the hard seasons. 
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1 comment:

  1. Such a great word Ashlee - I'm experiencing the growing pains of refining grace at the moment as well.