Tuesday, September 21, 2010
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During the high school football season, our Campus Life Club used to use a crowd breaker that provided a lot of entertainment for all of us. We had four cheerleaders up front with a box of football equipment, minus the more personal stuff, of course. They raced to see who was the first to get fully dressed in shoulder pads, hip pads, knee pads, helmets, the rest, you know. They each had a football player providing verbal coaching, but the results were still hilarious. Those cheerleaders had no idea what gear went where. But that's okay. That didn't need to know. But you can be sure the players knew. Every day, whether it was for a practice or a game, they got their equipment on. They didn't need it all day in school, of course, because they weren't generally being chased, or run into at high speeds, or thrown to the ground. But when it came time to play, the coaches made sure they had the equipment they needed. The coach wasn't about to send them into the battle without what they would need to protect them.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Preparing For the Worst."
Our missionary son called us one day and, in an uncharacteristically sober tone of voice, opened with these words: "Mom, Dad, get your grace helmets on." He was preparing us for bad news. They were in their sixth month of pregnancy with our grandson, and the doctor had just spotted some rare and serious medical problems. Our son knew what he, his wife, and our whole family were going to need for the trying months ahead. We were going to need God's grace; the equipment that God provides to give us that extra strength and protection we will need for the battle we are headed into.
Right now, you may be in one of those seasons where all your human resources are totally inadequate to keep you going. Here's God's open invitation, recorded in Hebrews 4:16, our word for today from the Word of God. "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Grace is God's enabling power that sustains us when we're running on empty. It's sort of like a reserve fuel tank that kicks in when our emotional and physical fuel tank has run out.
And it's not just generic grace, you know, "one size fits all." It's customized grace, specially designed for the kind of situation you need it for. God provides parenting grace when that's what's needed; forgiving grace when forgiving is what you need to do, cancer grace, suffering grace, persecution grace, funeral grace. For our family, facing the deep questions, the deep feelings, and the critical decisions about a little baby, God's grace came in like a Daddy's arms picking us up and carrying us when we couldn't walk any farther.
That little guy has had his battles, along with us, and we may have some more. But his story is one miracle after another. Not the least of which is the strength and the grace that has protected us like body armor on a soldier, or gear on an athlete. And, as God promised Paul in the pain and limitations of his thorn in the flesh, "My grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9). Or, as the original Greek says, "Enough for you - My grace."
His grace really is enough for you, no matter how desperate the situation. Because He's said "your strength will equal your days" (Deuteronomy 33:25). Whatever the burden, He will match it with His grace. More than match it, if you'll go to His throne of grace to get it. You have to go for the grace that this moment requires.
No matter what hits you, God is no less in charge; His plan is no less on target. Things may be out of your control, but they're never out of His control. If you trust Him, He will give you just the equipment you need for the battle you're facing, because God's plan will not lead you where His grace cannot keep you.