“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
So, there’s this person. This person that God has given me.
That sounds a little selfish, but that’s what He’s done. He’s given her to me.
Confidant. Shoulder. Sister. Friend. She “gets” me and I “get” her.
Polar opposites, yet completely the same.
It’s a miracle in itself how two totally different paths can merge together on the same road.
She has taught me a lot about myself. And life. And God. And she has no clue.
She blesses me. And she has no clue.
She would say I bless her. I would beg to differ, but I’ll take it. If she feels blessed by me, I know the feeling is double on my end.
There was a time when I thought I had lost her. It broke me. A series of misunderstandings and miscommunication and mistruths led to missing each other. For a while. And then we found our way back…to each other. To this friendship.
This person has stood in the gap for me. Gone to the altar for me. Prayed over me and with me when life has been messy. And it gets messy, this life does.
And grace is never sweeter than right smack dab in the middle of life’s biggest messes.
The pound cake that falls is better any day than the one that is perfectly perfect. I know. I’ve eaten many a sacrificed fallen poundcake from my Granny’s kitchen.
And in return, not out of duty or obligation, but out of love, I’ve stood in the gap for my friend. Gone to the altar for her.
Because I love her. Because God loves her. She knows this, but sometimes we just need someone to stand in the gap for us when we can’t find the strength to stand there alone.
Even with God, we can feel alone sometimes.
And I think that’s when He puts people in our lives to stand in the gap with us. For us.
He puts people in our lives to go to the altar for us when we can’t find the strength to go ourselves.
Our God is just. that. gracious. That merciful. And His Grace is sufficient.
In our weakness, it is all. we. have. God’s grace is all we have.
It was sufficient for Paul. He had seen God in all His glory. He had experienced Heaven and it was so grand he couldn’t begin to speak of it. He would never have done it justice.
And then he came back. Back to this ugly, sinister world ready to chew him up and spit him out. With a thorn. A thorn that dug in him daily and a voice from Satan constantly whispering to him that he wasn’t good enough. A voice saying God didn’t love him. God cared about everyone else around him, but He didn’t care about him or He would take his thorn away.
Really? If God didn’t love him, God would never have given him that thorn.
There’s a thought. Maybe God gives us trials and pains and disease and sickness and hurt because He loves us that much.
Because He knows without them, we will never look to Him. We will forget who put us here. Who gave us this life. And Who ultimately takes life away. But Who also gives us the freedom to choose where we go when our time here is up.
And that same God gives us people to stand in the gap for us when we are too weak to stand. To go to the altar for us when we are too numb to move. It hurts too much. It just hurts.
I thought at one point in my life I would never have “this” person in my life. I had sinned too bad. Gone too far. Gave up all the blessings He had given me and I would have to lie in my bed that I made. Friendless. Alone. No other woman to share what only you can share with another woman. Because we “get” each other.
I didn’t even pray for a friend. I just prayed that I would make it through the valley I found myself in. And He answered my unspoken prayer anyway. Because that’s the kind of God we serve. One that cares and answers prayers we aren’t even equipped to pray.
As my pastor said, perhaps the one question we never really want God to ask is this, “Is my grace sufficient for you?”
That question from God that whispers in my soul…”Is my grace alone really enough for you, Meredith?”
The answer for me has often been, “no.” No, it’s not. I need more. I need relief and peace and healing.
But I’m so glad He doesn’t choose to turn His grace away even when I’m not ready to receive it as the ONLY answer.
He continues to give it anyway. And when I realize it is all I have to lean on, there it is. And it’s sweet relief.
His grace is sweet relief for the hurt, the pain, the illness, the doubts, the fears, the worry, the loneliness, the stress, the unbelief, the lot in life we find ourselves.
It turns out His grace is sufficient, after all.
And thank God for that. Thank you, God, for your GRACE. Your all-sufficient Grace. Available at all times, even in the gap.
And thank you, God, for the One you provided to stand IN THE GAP for US ALL. Jesus stood in the gap, so we didn’t have to. And now the gap has been covered. And He waits with open arms for His children. One. Sweet. Day.
Today’s post was inspired from Pastor Brian Edwards’ message, Sunday, March 2, 2014 at Blessed Hope, Danville, VA.
The lovely ladies in these photos are two sweet friends I had the opportunity to photograph last fall that gave me permission to use their photographs.