Grace upon grace
For reading & meditation: John 1:1-17
"And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace." (v.16, RSV)
Today we ask: What purpose does God have in leading us into situations which are uncertain and ambiguous? He does so in order that we might learn to depend on Him and not on ourselves. Just as in times of loneliness we learn to realise His presence, so in times of uncertainty we learn to realise His power. The major reason why our lives are unfruitful lies right here: we depend more on our own strength than we do on His. How can God teach us dependence unless He puts us into situations which are so uncertain that we are compelled either to choose the way of frustration or the way of faith
? And if we draw back from entering such situations, we will miss a valuable spiritual education and our lives will become barren. A statement I came across some time ago sums up what I want to say concerning ambiguity and uncertainty. It is this: "God's purposes are always God's enablings." In other words, when God steers you into strange and uncertain situations, He will keep you very much in the dark concerning His purposes, but He will not leave you bereft of His grace. The purpose of God and the grace of God are two sides of the one coin. If you accept the purpose, you get the grace; if you refuse the purpose, you annul the grace. Anything God purposes for you, He gives you the grace to perform. John speaks in our text for today of "grace upon grace". One preacher I know translates that text like this: "Use the grace I give you and rest assured - there will always be more to follow."
O Father, how wonderful it would be if I could master this lesson today, and become a living illustration of "grace upon grace". May it be so, to the honour and glory of Your peerless and precious Name. Amen.
For further study:
1. How did Paul view his "thorn in the flesh"?
2. What was his attitude?