Tailor-Made Grace for Everything We Face (Part One)
(Written with Brenda Brown)
For ten days, our family sat by the hospital bed of my suffering mother. A previous surgery to remove the aggressive cancer cells from her lung appeared at first to be successful. Soon we learned the metastasized cells had penetrated her bones. The process of her painful death moved quickly. In the final days, she lay quietly, overdosed with pain medication and laboring to breathe as she journeyed toward eternity.
The morning before her death, she suddenly opened her eyes wide and began to express the most glorious praise, continuing for over a minute with heartfelt declarations of her love and gratitude for Jesus. The family witnessed an amazing demonstration of her fully-alive spirit, transcending a rapidly-failing body, to soar into the heavenlies with intimate worship of Christ. What I saw that morning could only be described as “dying grace.” The Lord was giving her a longing for His presence and an expectation of eternity’s glory. As a pastor for 30 years, I’ve witnessed this amazing display of the tender, unmerited favor of God in the lives of many as they knocked on death’s door.
Unique, Specific, Timely Provision
The concept of God’s unique provision of specific grace first birthed in my understanding during high-school. These were the days of the Cold War. Superpower nations threatened one another with weapons of mass destruction. Urban speculations circulated about the potential of the Communists taking over our nation, putting Christians to death in a ruthless wave of persecution. Stories of this kind of thing in other nations surfaced in the news. Christian songs were even written about the future need to meet in secret for fear of maltreatment.
Periodically, I wondered, “What would I do if I were brought before the firing squad with threats to denounce my faith or die?” How would I handle it? What would I say? In time, as I clearly understood the power and practicality of grace, I gained assurance that I did not need to worry. If that moment ever came, God would lavish me with grace for a bold, glorious martyrdom in the exact instant it was needed.
Perhaps we’ve become so accustomed to the legendary hymn that we have forgotten how amazing grace really is. One of the truths about grace that consistently fascinates me is that “God has tailor-made grace for everything we face.”
Most of us don’t have too many tailor-made belongings. Some have suits, shoes, draperies, and assorted possessions that have been specially designed for their unique tastes. The popular television series, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, demonstrates the marvel of tailor-made blessings. In each episode, a needy family receives a brand new home from the riches of the television program and its sponsors. Everything is suited to their longing, from the layout of the house to the style of the furniture, the color of the paint, and the décor of every room. They even receive an abundance of mind-blowing extras. The heart-grabbing stories demonstrate the beauty of receiving unmerited blessings far beyond one’s own capability.
Better yet, our lives can be a divinely-interrupted story of the abundance of tailor-made grace. The popular acrostic “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense” is more than a pithy slogan. The sacrifice of Christ’s redemption invites us to the abundance of heaven’s supply of grace for our most desperate and most practical needs. The Apostle Peter describes God’s grace as “manifold,” which means it is diverse, multifaceted, and measureless in its variations (1 Peter 4:10).
Experience Grace. Expect it!
John 1:16 says that out of Christ’s abundance we have all received “grace upon grace.” The Amplified Bible elaborates, “We were all supplied with one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift heaped upon gift.” Like the endless rhythm of ocean waves washing onto a beach, God’s grace lavishes our lives with continual provision of His supernatural enabling for our chronic limitations.
Just as we expected and experienced sufficient, converting grace when we came to Christ and were transformed by His power, so we should live with confident expectation that His provision will be enough every day. Grace is not just a past-tense salvation miracle. It is a present-tense sanctification wonder. We can live each day expecting a fresh phenomenon of grace in our lives.
Nineteenth-century pastor and evangelist D. L. Moody summarized the idea of tailor-made grace well when he affirmed, “A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough today to last him for the next six months, nor can he inhale sufficient air into his lungs with one breath to sustain life for a week to come. We are permitted to draw upon God's store of grace from day to day as we need it.” Draw upon the abundant grace of Christ for you today. It is sufficient for all your needs.
Copyright © 2012 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.