The thousands of pointed leaves have emerged like butterflies, suddenly wrestling themselves out from the cocoons of white blossoms. Grass is mowed and warm rains fall and it’s easy to be lulled by the quiet hum of it all.
And yet just this week, earthquakes have shattered the earth of two countries. Children have gone missing in countless more. I walk down the street under these canopies of leaves only to see men and women digging through recycling bins or just bowed by the weight of it all.
All…it’s a word I’ve used before, saying “All is grace.”
What do I really mean by those words? When I hear them said by others, what do they mean?
Do they mean that every circumstance in our lives is a gift from the hand of God?
That there is no such thing as evil, only good which we struggle to recognize?
Does it excuse or wipe away the pain of abuse, betrayal, heartbreak, terror because really it was just the difficult grace of godly discipline?
I want you to know that the answer, for me anyway, is No.
I couldn’t have walked the last two and a half years of my life without recognizing the presence of evil in this world. I can’t stare in the face of someone who has survived horrific abuse, brainwashing, and pain and tell them that this was a gift from God. Even amidst his sovereignty, I cannot say to them God chose this.
What I can say, however, is that there is grace in the midst of it all. That choosing to re-interpret our lives through the lens of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit is a powerful testimony to resurrection. That there is no pain or evil beyond the scope of God’s redemptive and creative power.
What man intended for evil, God turned into good.
THIS is the story of Grace. This is the potential for every moment, every breath of our lives. We can speak the words “all is grace” because we trust in a God whose grace uses our enemies to turn us in reliance upon Him, who uses our failures to humble and teach us, who uses our disappointments to draw us back into the Everlasting Arms.
I believe this is part of what Paul meant when he described himself “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” The apostle John declares, “For from [Christ’s] fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.“
Grace, this gift of second chances and hope of redemption in the midst of death.
This story of wildly unexpected endings and the promise that evil is not the last word.
Our responsibility is to receive, and then obey.
And within it all is the germinating embryo of resurrection.