The Unlikely Suspects

Mary was chosen to give birth to the Christ child.
Sarah gave birth to a son at a very old age.
Noah was chosen to build the ark.
David was chosen to fight Goliath.

These are only a few of the stories that I think of when I reflect on God’s grace in the Bible. There are so many more stories that embody what it means to be blessed by God’s grace. And, like these characters in the Bible, God chooses us too. God often chooses the most unlikely of people to receive God’s grace.

I never imagined that I would be the one to attend seminary. But God saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. And placed professors, advisors and friends who continually graced me with God’s grace.

I wouldn’t have worked at SuperAwesomeBibleCamp for seven summers if God hadn’t shown grace to the camp director who hired me.

God’s grace again and again has a way of showing up in the most unlikeliest of people and in the most unlikeliest of places. As a single 37 year old, I cannot even begin to imagine the emotions Mary felt when she was told she would give birth to the Christ child. Yet she fulfilled God’s call for her life. And I will bet the minute she held her infant Son in her arms, she was overcome with great emotion and love; trusting in the gift of God’s grace for her family and especially for her newborn Son.

David was in not so many words the runt of the litter. Yet God chose him. David fought Goliath and even won! Another example of the mighty power of God’s grace in our lives. God’s grace doesn’t ever leave us where it found us! It is a gift that is always placed on the table for us to receive.

Through these Bible stories and through the stories in our own lives, I believe that we can begin to see a glimpse of God’s grace even in the midst of our own darkness.  We began to show the visibility of a sometimes invisible God. I am reminded of these words from Paul Tripp that I shared in a blog post in September titled The Visibility of God’s Grace. Tripp writes: “I think my job is to make the grace of an invisible God, visible, wherever I am!”

Because I have received this gift in my own life and seen the power of this grace in my own life, I will continue to show it others so that together we may see the visibility of God’s grace in our own lives and on our own journeys of faith.

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Blessed To Be A Blessing

I have always loved the story of Abraham and Sarah. Just last night, I found myself reading through the Bible…and I was plopped right down into the story of Lot and Abram. God promised Abram descendants; as many as the stars in the sky. God also promised that Abram would be “blessed to be a blessing.”

Now most of us know the story, Abram and Sarai were blessed with a child. But first not in the way, any of us would expect. Sarah had her servant Hagar submit to Abram. She bore a child. That child was named Ishmael. Abram was eight six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.
But then God came and promised Abraham that Sarah would bear him a son. At his old age, Abraham laughed at God’s words to him. Sarah would be quite old when she became pregnant. Can you even imagine? I don’t think I could.but then again, God has the power to do ANYTHING! God provided for them. God gave them exactly what God promised them that God would do.

Abraham was faithful to God. He always trusted that God’s words would come true. Are we faithful like Abraham? Or do we react more like he first did when he heard the news that Sarah would bear him a child? I think more often than we care to admit we laugh like Abraham did. Or we let fear creep in and forget to trust in God and God’s promises for us.

I have been reflecting a lot on how Sarah and Abraham both trusted God. They laughed at first, but then they fulfilled the tasks that God asked them to do. I don’t know about you but I find myself wanting to be more like Abraham…and Sarah.

There are days that I still wonder whether God hears my prayers. But the truth is that I know that God hears them. Yet I still have a hard time trusting in that when the desires of my heart have not yet been met. And in those moments, I really am reminded of Sarah and Abraham.

To be honest, I often see myself in Sarah. I see how she yearned to be a mom and give her husband a child. I too yearn to be a mom and a wife. I see how she trusted in Abraham. I see how she continually and most importantly, trusted in God. I want to trust in God like Sarah and Abraham trusted in God! I may be nearing my 40’s, but that doesn’t mean God won’t still show up for me. God showed up to Sarah when she was much older than I am!

Through it all, Abraham and Sarah counted their blessings and shared those blessings. God calls us to take inventory of our blessings as well. God opens our eyes to see the blessings all around us. As I have finished 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp and continued to keep my Sunday Blessings post here on my blog, I have become even more aware of how incredibly blessed I am! Listing my blessings has changed my attitude. Especially knowing that truth, God calls me; calls all of us to follow Sarah and Abraham’s lead to go out into the world to be “blessed to be a blessing.”

Addendum: Tonight I came back from our S’more Summer worship and was scrolling through my Facebook feed. I saw the most amazing thing. My friend E and her hubby lost a child last September. Little did I know that our friend B was a surrogate for them and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. It is amazing to me how they have been able to keep it a secret on social media etc. My friend B’s actions are so amazing. She is an incredible woman and she said she would do it all over for them. I am so very thankful tonight. What an incredible blessing for my friend E and her hubby M. This story is a wonderful example of what it means to go out into the world to be “blessed to be a blessing.”