I suppose the reason I write so much about grace is that I’m amazed—staggered—almost incredulous—that God puts up with us. I sin. I struggle with selfishness and pride and insecurity every freaking day. Besides my personal faults, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the myriad pressures and responsibilities of life. Have I mentioned my chronic struggle with anxiety and depression?
Yeah, life can be a mess.
Throughout this messy life of mine, I have often hoped to attain a sort of near-perfection. Someday, I thought, I will get it together once and for all. There will be no more insecurities, sins or mistakes. I hoped to reach a kind of godly plateau, a spiritual condition with very little room for improvement. With God’s help, I will finally get things right.
I know now that’s not going to happen.
Last month, I spent an amazing week relaxing with my family by a lake. It was a sabbath rest: seven days packed with blessings. I felt refreshed and strengthened by that week. My time at the lake was, I felt sure, a cure for at least some of my problems, and the beginning of a better, brighter chapter of my life.
The next two weeks were rough. Work was hard. For several days, I blundered through a fog of anxiety and depression. It was almost as though the week at the lake had never happened.
In the end, of course, God helped me through those weeks. That was no surprise. Whatever my problems, God never fails to help me—and that’s the point.
I don’t think I’m ever really going to get it together. I shall always struggle. Perfect holiness and complete awesomeness will elude me. Until I shuffle off this mortal coil, I’ll have problems.
In my experience, God doesn’t make us self-sufficient. He helps us do better. He helps us be better. When we inevitably make mistakes, he forgives.
As much as I wish I could get it together and keep it together, I don’t believe I ever shall.
It is well, then, that our God is a God of grace.