We always think of God’s grace as our way to do better. We use His grace to fuel our motivations to do more work.
As an achiever, I always thought that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13) because His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in my weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9).
In short, I believed God is always gracious. And I automatically equated grace to His strength displayed in my weaknesses. There’s nothing wrong, right?
But things don’t make sense, sometimes.
Last month, I started studying and doing business at the same time. I felt excited to do more and achieve greater things despite my struggles. I thought my weaknesses will automatically merit the strength of God to hit my goals.
Sometimes, I still dragged myself to work and wished I have enough money to survive while doing what I want. I hoped not to worry about finances.
I reached the point where I could not meet my work goals and deadlines. Even if I begged God to give me strength, I often ended up stressed, restless, and exhausted to work.
And I heard this still, small voice.
Last night, before I slept, I practiced listening prayer. We usually think of prayers as babbling words towards God and then, amen. But we never really paused and quieted our hearts. We always talk to God, but often become impatient to listen to Him.
I just asked Him to give me the grace to work and hit my goals. But instead of feeling the adrenaline to do business as usual, I heard Him saying:
I’m giving you the grace to rest.
I meditated on those words until they made sense. The previous days, I only paid attention to the grace of God, not to God Himself. I focused too much on receiving His grace to reach my goals.
In short, I treated Him as a vending machine dispensing grace whenever I needed it.
But last night, He asked me to pay attention only to Him, not to the things He can give me. He wants me to rest and trust Him, neither on His grace nor on His gifts.
I need his grace to rest so I can have more of Him.
I need God Himself. We all need Him.
And to meet this need, we don’t need to strive for His attention.
He doesn’t need us to be perfect. He wants us, just as we are, still and humble, so that we can fully experience Him.
His grace is not only visible when we overcome our weaknesses. Sometimes, He shows His grace by withholding us the strength (gift) so that we can have Him (Giver).
His grace is just the means to an end: a restored, intimate relationship with Him.
As He gives us the grace to rest on Him, He can finally complete the work He began in us.