The Other Side of Grace

Photo by ZSun Fu

Grace can be an incredible thing. It’s what gives us opportunities that we will otherwise not have. It’s what opens doors that we would never dare to come near. It’s what tells  people that God is with us and for us.

But there is another side of grace. A grace that requires unbelievable courage to carry. A grace that is weighty yet light because God bears the burden with us.

I love the story of Mary. What a privilege. She had the enormous honor of carrying God into this world. But her life wasn’t all rosy.

And the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. and behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus. Luke 1:31

Grace…scandalous grace had found Mary and her life was never the same again.

I heard that in this culture, the older generation would bless the young women and say, “May you be the chosen one.” Every young girl’s dream was  to be the mother of the awaited Messiah.

But it wasn’t theirs to choose. God did the choosing and He picked Mary.

Mary was highly favored but this favor came with a huge cost. She was going to be known as the mother of an illegitimate child.

She was going to face possible death for a pregnancy out of wedlock. Scandalous grace

She was going to live with this stigma all her life, yet she was highly favored.

God had messed up all her plans, she was going to be on the run for a long time,still highly favored.

Sometimes favor can be a really good thing. But it can also be a very hard thing.

I found myself in a season where God was calling me to carry favor that cost me everything. To do this thing, I was going to be okay looking like a fool. It was going to ruin my reputation with some people. I was going to face the consequences of people who didn’t believe I was in the will of God. I was going to do it for a very long time.

My life wasn’t going to look like anything I had dreamed. God had chosen me for this incredibly hard thing. My family and friends didn’t get it but I knew God had called me and I was going to do it whether they agreed or not.

Here are some things I have learned about favor:

It will require courage. Mary had to take courage for the not-so-great parts of her finding favor with God. You are going to have to get up and take courage. You are going to have to get the courage to keep going even when it gets hard. Be encouraged! So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

You are going to look like a fool. Some things will make us look so foolish before men. And we have to lay down the fear of men to do what God has called us to do. We will have to be okay with God’s favor ruining our reputations. And allow God to be the one who vindicates us. Paul says for we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels as well as to men. 1 cor 4:9b some things will make us a spectacle to men.

Favor will attract envy. People who don’t know the weight of carrying the favor will respond in envy. If you have found favor with God. People will come after you for that favor. Often, People are envious because they don’t know the price that person has paid to carry that favor. Don’t ask for someone’s favor, you cannot pay the price. Ask God for yours and carry it well.

Respond like Mary. Mary didn’t argue with God. She considered the price and still said yes. And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38 Mary gave God her, yes, and she didn’t take it back. I have given God my yes then took it back when I found out what exactly He was calling me to. But Mary didn’t take it back, not when she was about to be stoned. Not when her fiancé left her. Not when she was on the run. I believe this is why God picked her. God could rely on her to the end. He knew Mary will do His will not just the easy parts, but the hard parts too.

Sis, can God rely on you? God is looking for people who will do His will and do it well. So many people are asking God for stuff they can’t pay the price for. If God has chosen you for scandalous favor He knows He can trust you. Don’t let Him down. Carry it to the end. It will be glorious and worth it.

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