I teach Geometry at high school. We spend A LOT of time on conditional statements. "If this, then that." If you do the dishes, then you can go to the game. If you are a parent, you understand how this works. Even you have ever been a kid, you have probably tried to manipulate it a bit. But the premise is, the dishes have to be done BEFORE you go to the game. If you do this, then that will happen.
So often in our faith walk we think of God's grace as a conditional statement. "If I am faithful enough, then God will answer my prayers." " If I had enough faith, then I would be healed." Have you ever said these things? I know that I have. And I have cried many tears, begging God to make me whole. It was an easy mistake to make.
Acts 3:16 By faith in the name of Jesus,
this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and
the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you
can all see.
John 4:12-14 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
The woman who only touched Jesus' cloak in Mark 5: 25-34 had enough faith that just touching Jesus would heal her. Do you see the conditional statement? because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” (Mark 5:28)
And these are just a few of a plethora found in the New Testament. I haven't even looked at the Old Testament! Not to mention the numerous times I have sat in church hearing the same message. And I began to doubt my own faith. I must not have been faithful enough, I must not be completely trusting God because I have not been made whole. So I started to read my Bible, scouring it for answers.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 Three times I pleaded with the
Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace
is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the
power of Christ may rest upon me.
The healing that Jesus gave others was grace. Not because any of the Bible characters deserved it, but because, well, I am still sturggling with the why. He wants show all of us grace- " unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification ". ("Grace." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2013. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/grace>.) He wants to shower his grace upon us. And it isn't my lack of faith that keeps me from receiving His grace. I don't know what it is. I haven't found the answer yet either. But I am still searching for why I haven't been made whole yet. I cling to Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I am waiting for His timing. BUT one thing has come from all of this.
I have learned the lesson of grace. To give, even when someone doesn't deserve the gift. The gift of love, the gift of forgiveness, the gift of kindness. If nothing else, God has lead me to understand His grace and has given me an example.