(We’d sung the song by Matt Redman, Your Grace Finds Me, as a congregation many times, but one Sunday last summer, the words in the refrain impacted me differently.
Your grace finds me;
Yes, Your grace finds me!
Since that Sunday, I keep being reminded of ways God’s grace has found me in the past, finds me in the present, and I’m assured, will continue to find me in the future.)
Grace to Do God’s Will
I asked my husband to take a photo of this sign I’d picked up at the local Farmer’s Market last summer since it was the perfect sentiment for this post about God’s grace and God’s will. The sign by itself seemed a bit boring, and I thought perhaps the wooden giraffe we’d purchased at a roadside bazaar in South Africa, would be a nice prop for contrast. When I saw the two together, my mind began to wander. As I thought about grace, giraffes and Africa, some connections between God’s will, God’s grace and the giraffe, a most graceful creature, began to form.
Ron and I had the profound privilege of making a trip to South Africa a few years ago. It was life changing on many levels.
Whenever I think about that experience, the initial image entering my mind is our first encounter with one of the amazing wild animals that roam all over the South African grasslands. We were riding on a bus from the airport in Johannesburg to the lodge where we’d spend much of our time. All of a sudden, an enormous giraffe loped from the grassy woods, coming within feet of the bus.
Mr. Giraffe stopped. He looked at the bus. He looked at the woods from whence he’d emerged. He looked again at the bus. He seemed to decide the machine full of white-faced creatures was safe. Of course, I’m not a giraffe mind reader. Until that moment, I’d only seen pictures of the animal and knew little about the species. But, at that moment, something inside me connected to this magnificent creature. His gentle brown eyes, gazing inquisitively, intrigued me. While I like animals, I’d never be considered an animal lover, but at that moment, I felt like I fell in love with the giraffe.
This blog post isn’t a tutorial on giraffes, but, please, indulge me while I give you a few giraffe facts:
- The giraffe is the tallest mammal. New-born babies are taller than most humans.
- Giraffes are peace-loving, family-oriented animals.
- The safety of giraffes relies on their powerfully strong legs. Even a ferocious lion is deterred from messing with a giraffe because of the damage a giraffe’s kick can inflict.
- A giraffe is vulnerable to attacks only when lying down.
- Giraffes spend only about 20 minutes a day sleeping.
Now, here are some observations.
- Even as the giraffe’s design is a reflection of God’s will, so is mine.
- You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! (Psalm 139:13-14a TLB)
- God has designed me to be peace-loving, family-oriented, and to strive for peaceful relationships in the environments I’ve been placed.
- Never pay back evil with more evil…Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. (Romans 12:17 & 18 NLT)
- Even like a ferocious lion would love to make a vulnerable giraffe his supper, I too have a potential enemy—an enemy not so much of my body but of my soul—and I need to be careful about lying down, becoming lazy about compromising core biblical values and spiritual disciplines. (Fortunately, God designed me to need more than 20 minutes of sleep each day, because I love cuddling up under my fluffy down comforter for a good seven hours of rest each night!)
- … be disciplined and stay on guard. Your enemy the devil is prowling around outside like a roaring lion, just waiting and hoping for the chance to devour someone. (1 Peter 5:8 VOICE)
- While a giraffe’s safety relies on strong legs, I can rely on the Spirit within for my safety from influences that keep me from seeing God’s truth and traveling in the direction of God’s will.
- My dear children, you come from God and belong to God. You have already won a big victory over those false teachers, for the Spirit in you is far stronger than anything in the world. (1 John 4:4 MSG)
There have been times in my life when
- I’ve been determined to cling to my will even when I knew my will didn’t line up with God’s will.
- I’ve felt I was sincerely trying to do God’s will, but everything in my life seemed to be going wrong, and I felt perplexed.
- I’ve known deep in my spirit that my will was at the center of God’s will.
In my January 21st post, I gave three definitions of grace from the Merriman-Webster online dictionary, and I think each coincides with these three times.
- Unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification. A virtue coming from God. When I’m clinging stubbornly to my will, God’s grace—which in no way do I deserve—is always nudging me toward God-honoring growth.
- Approval, favor, mercy, pardon, a special favor, privilege, reprieve – Spirit work is often unseen. Even when I don’t see grace, behind the scenes, God’s goodness is still working, and I WILL see it eventually.
- A charming or attractive trait or characteristic – Recently, I heard Pastor Rick Warren say, “The more grace I’ve experienced, the more I will extend grace to others.” Grace begets grace.
These past few days, the giraffes I saw roaming the grasslands of South Africa have been teaching me good lessons about God’s grace, reminding me
The will of God will never take you
Where the grace of God cannot keep you.
Blessings on your journey as God’s grace leads you to do God’s will!