And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. I Peter 5:10-11
Shapes help us imagine and find meaning in things throughout our lives. When I see a heart, I think of love. When I see a dove, I think of peace. When I see golden arches, I think of McDonald’s. When I see a triangle, I think of yielding. When I see a cross, I think of . . . well, many things about my Savior! But what shape do I see when I think of grace? That’s a question I’ve been pondering for some time now — what does grace really look like? It’s easy and perhaps a bit cliche to throw in the cross as a symbol, or throw out Jesus as the best example or use the special treat even though the chores weren’t done as a lesson of grace. But to customize an image of grace, a shape, is not easily done.
A number of months ago I remember a time when I was sitting at my desk at work. The sun was drilling its way through the trees outside my window and into my office and caught my attention with it’s bite on my neck. I circled around and pulled up the blinds to catch a better glimpse at the world outside God had wanted me to see. All the major characters were still in place, the grass, the trees, the road, the buildings . . . but there was something different about what I saw that day. I sat there staring at the scene, looking intently at the occasional bird and passing car and completely missed the one thing God was trying to get me to see. I sat still for quite some time concentrating on the scene. And then, from out of now where, it appeared — my mind was looking through it, my eyes had ignored it, but God’s Spirit shown His light upon it — my reflection in the window.
I stumbled onto grace! Through my stillness and in the darkness of the backdrop of my world, God was shining on me, showing me the shape of grace. It was a moment where words were difficult to form and while prayer was something I wanted to do so badly, words were simply not possible. But this was prayer! This was the stillness of my heart in worship to my Savior, savoring the richness of the grace, the shape of grace, in me! The silhouette of my heart against the backdrop of my darkness was being strengthened and made steadfast. This cocoon-like moment required the stillness of my spirit, it entailed the turning of all things upside down so that all things are emptied, so that God could flow in!
Lord Jesus, continue to flow in!
. . . I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. I Peter 5:12