Saturday, April 27, 2013

Infinite Grace 3

Bernilli blooms in the Garden of Grace
Indeed I heard Ephraim pleading: "You disciplined me and I took the discipline; I was like a calf untrained. Bring me back, let me come back, for you are the Lord my God. For after I had turned away I repented; and after I was discovered, I struck my thigh; I was ashamed, and I was dismayed because I bore the disgrace of my youth." Jeremiah 31: 18-19.

These verses form part of a poem where Rachel, symbolizing the quintessential bereaved mother, represents the ancient Israelite generation whose children are in exile, and Ephraim, historically, her grandson, represents the repentant exiled. I know what it is to be in Ephraim's place, far away from God, far from feeling like a favored or respected child. At such times, I have tried to bargain and plead with God. My voice and words are quite different in each case.  When I plead, its a voice of shame and repentance; when I bargain I'm much more demanding or cajoling, filled with a sense of entitlement. It took me awhile to understand that even when I have been disciplined or in disgrace, I am held by his grace. This is not a binary state where disgrace is the exact opposite of grace and never the twain shall meet! I may have lost favor, respect, and be in a position of humiliation but God's loving-kindness is always with me. Grace, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Prayer: Lord, help us see your grace even in our disgrace, suffering, sorrow and repentance. Amen.