Ch. 5: What in the World, in All this World, is Grace?
Excerpts: One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations. –Saint John of Avila Every moment is a message from The Word-God who can’t stop writing His heart. Perspective–how we see. Who would ever know the greater graces of comfort and perseverance, mercy and forgiveness, patience and courage, if no shadows fell over a life? If we don’t say goodbye here, when will we meet Him there? These are the lens words for a life: Precious in His eyes is the homecoming of the saints (Ps. 116:15) what if that which feels like trouble, gravel in the mouth, is only that–feeling? What if faith says all is…good? All new life labors out of the very bowels of darkness. It is suffering that has the realest possibility to bear down and deliver grace. In the emptiness, we have the opportunity to turn to God, and there find all the fullness of joy. Darkness transfigures into light, bad transfigures into good, grief transfigures into grace, empty transfigures into full. Who knows when you might climb a mount of transfiguration? If you haven’t lost Christ, child, nothing is ever lost. “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) In sharing in Christ’s sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, you come “to know Christ and the power of His resurrection.” (Phil. 3:10) God “does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow” (Lam. 3:33), but labors to birth grief into greater grace. God is always good and I am always loved. Lean into the ugly and whisper thanks to transfigured it into beauty.
This was one of the most powerful chapters for me to read. It met me right where I’ve been at this past year. The Lord gave me the Psalm 116 verse in the midst of my ordeal. But it wasn’t until this chapter that I understood more of the fullness of what God was saying to me–my suffering was precious because He transfigured it to life. The ugly has been, and will be, transfigured into beauty.
Throughout this trial, the Lord kept telling me it was all about perspective–what I thought I saw was not what was. And here Voskamp brings up the same topic–perspective. It’s all in how you see it. Do you dare to choose to see God in the depths of despair? In the worst of suffering? When everything else was jeopardized, I was more aware than ever that my relationship with Jesus was never jeopardized. In the darkest, hardest parts of life, Jesus is still there. When there is nothing else, there is still Jesus.
This past year, I got to climb a mount of transfiguration. And got to see grace delivered from the intense pain of grief and suffering. The pain, the betrayal, the suffering–all the gravel in the mouth–were only feeling. God is good. I am loved. And giving thanks gives me the perspective Jesus has.