As I grew up reading Scripture, I missed the weight of grace for many years.
Grace: God's riches at Christ's expense.
Grace, which changes everything. Grace, one of the cornerstones of our movement, preached in our pulpits, exposited in our Sunday school lessons. Grace, the idea that God loves me, even though I don't deserve it, never earned it, couldn't keep it if I tried harder and strived to do better my whole life long.
If grace is undeserved favor, it's the story of my whole life. By the grace of God, I've walked with Christ my life long. By the grace of God, I learned ministry from men and women who loved God's Word and believed it was true and powerful. By the grace of God, I share the love of God with men and women and children today.
I am reading 1 & 2 Samuel at present, the stories of kings and prophets, wars and wives. I read it during the elections, in the midst of Internet wars, in the wake of unexpected controversy.
It tells the story of unexpected heroes, called from pastures to royalty, of fierce battles and deep-rooted bitterness. In the midst of the story, David is anointed king, but the joy of his anointing is clouded by the murder of his best friend's brother (2 Samuel 4:7), the crippling of his best friend's son (2 Samuel 4:4) and the disdain of the wife of his youth (2 Samuel 6:20).
Throughout his life, David is a character who reflects the grace of God.
He was given a favor he did not earn, and he was loved. As I read these passages with new eyes, I also see that he carried a weight of grace. His anointing was not without misunderstanding. His calling was not without its share of unexpected heartaches. What are the places of our calling and anointing?
Years ago, I read this life-shaping quote:
"The place God has for you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." -Frederick Buechner
Perhaps you know the place God has for you, and you are walking towards it with confidence. More often than not, my story is made up of the fumbling, the parts where I feel like I am living in caves with the ragtag army of God, waiting for that big moment where the anointing is clear (1 Samuel 22:1-2).
In both parts of our story, in the waiting expectancy and the walking forward, I am continually discovering the weight of grace in our lives. I have known that it cost Christ everything, but increasingly, I realize - our sin and His death were in some sense the whole purpose of His life. The weight of grace was the cost of the life of an eternal God.
My weight of grace is pennies in comparison.
It is the occasional misunderstanding, the random social media distraction, the infrequent uncomfortable conversation. If we are calling the broken into a healing relationship with their Creator God, and we never encounter any of the above, we might not actually be living in the real world.
For us, the weight of grace is a simple one. It cost Christ everything. His calling is for our whole lives as well.
Most recently, I read the story of king David, whirling undignified in his love for the Lord. His wife, watching, disdained and denounced him. Somehow she lost sight of the rejoicing we have because the battle is won. Because of her bitterness, God gave her barrenness. I want a fruitful life, one that gives birth to good things. I want to rest with joy under the weight of grace. Because the next chapter, after the one with misunderstanding and mixed motives, is the one where God reminds us:
"My steadfast love will not depart from you" (2 Samuel 7:15). The weight of grace clothes us in the love of Christ forever.