I’ve been thinking about the word “reaching” lately. The image of monkey bars came to mind as I remembered how great it was when I was finally tall enough to reach that first bar and swing. It felt wonderful and I was so excited and happy. For a little while. Then I looked up to the next bar and longed to have the courage to swing up to it, but I couldn’t yet, so I became discontent and yearned only for the presently unachievable. Contentment lost. Joy diminished. Reaching again, for the next thing. And on it went. Then, finally reaching the top, I became frustrated that there was no where else to go from there.
I think life can be a lot like that.
Reaching for the graduation, the next degree, the job, career success, the marriage, the house, the children, the obedient children, the successful children, the grand retirement..
As my husband and I are walking through a job loss, trying to build his business from the ground up, the realization that we need to sell our house and the overwhelming task of preparing it for sale quickly, as well as having no idea where we will end up, we have been reaching. It started out as a sort of scrambling reaching…sometimes frantic and sometimes fearful. Then, acknowledging our loss of control and inability, we began reaching for God more than we have together in years.
Our monkey bar structure fell down. Personally, mine had already been demolished not long before this. Yeah, the once strong, steal situation of my life was totally decimated. I reached for God for a long, long, terrifying time. Daily guttural cries were the substance of my prayer life. Defeat, the master of my walk. Goodbye monkey bars, hello desperation. Essentially, Jesus’ “It is finished” applied to the me I had known. Someone I did not know had taken over and all I could reach for was God. Actually, “reach” is an overstatement, more like lift my pinky to Him!!
And the realization we are coming to now, as I did then, a realization we had already experienced many times in our lives, only now cut to the very core of our beings, is that God is always, forever, unabashedly, scandalously reaching for us. Jesus’ “It is finished,” and God forsaking Him on that cross, means He will never forsake His children. Ever.
Grace shows up to the wrong people.
Look who Jesus went to and gave grace to!! I was and AM the wrong person–I have BIG sins, little sins, every single day sins for which Jesus died. The lonely, fearful, perfectionistic, judgmental, addicted, fired, mean, murdering, gossiping, adulterous, angry, thieving, sick people are given grace.
Grace reaches for us.
Grace draws us in love, leads us to repentance, lifts us from our rubble, redeems us to new life, gives us hope, cleans us through Jesus. Every single day. Many times a day. This is a joy and contentment that can never be shaken, stolen, lessened by anything in this world. This is the good news!
So, I’m-we- are forgetting the monkey bars. We’ve burned the “ladder” the world climbs and hit our knees. And we are finding no good thing in us and everything good in God. Want to light a match with us?
During some of my most difficult times, I praised Jesus to a country song more than any other!! If you don’t like this idea, please give me grace ;-). I sang this song over and over to Jesus (replacing the word “baby” with “Jesus”). There is a line in it that says, “When I reach for You, Your love lifts me up.” So true. Just call out to Jesus. Another line says, “You’re a waterfall, washing over me, I’m a thirsty man, let me drink You in.” Sometimes when all you can do is stand still (or lay down) and let grace and love pour over you, it’s the best thing you can do. Click on the link to listen…you might just turn it into praise too. Love and grace to you.