I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You (and I repent). Job 42:5
I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love and I became to them as One who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent low to them and fed them. Hosea 11:4
There is a facet of grace that has been tumbling around in my mind, calling out to me to put words to it. ‘Chesed’ is the word in Hebrew that speaks of God’s grace in terms of deliverance from enemies, affliction, or adversity. It denotes enablement, daily guidance, forgiveness and preservation (from allaboutgod.com).
When God does something in us, or for us, that we couldn’t do for ourselves, that is His grace. In Titus 3:4-5 it starts with, “When the goodness and kindness of our Savior appeared, He saved us.” This kindness and goodness doesn’t stop once we become a Christian, it carries us throughout our lives. It keeps appearing, sometimes in very difficult or unexpected situations.
I was talking with an old friend about how things have been going. He had told me a few months ago that his son and his brother were both struggling. His son had only been married less than two years when his wife decided that she didn’t want to be married anymore. Her father and mother’s relationship hadn’t been good and it ended poorly. So her conclusion was, why stay in a bad marriage to have it end like that? He has been waiting at least nine months for this marriage to come back from the dead, waiting with the control really not being with him at all. As time goes on, the prospect of restoration fades.
My friend’s brother has been a pastor of many years. Less than a year ago he revealed that he had been having an affair for several years. Now his wife and children won’t talk to him and have refused his pleas for forgiveness. He has lost pretty much all he has known for the last thirty years and lives in a crummy apartment back in his small hometown, helping out with their mother who has dementia. He too waits for God to show up and do something that he can’t do.
Remember the woman who had been bleeding over 30 years? She pressed through the crowd just so she could touch the hem of Jesus’ robe (Mark 5:25-34). She thought something like, “I will throw myself at His feet, shamelessly asking for help.” And Jesus helped her, He did not send her away. When God does appear with His goodness and kindness and speaks to your desperate situation, it is radical. That’s when Job said, “I’ve heard of You, but how I’ve seen You.” In other words, “I used to sing ‘Amazing Grace,’ but now I have met amazing grace. I can sing of it first person.”
I have known others whose lives have been ripped apart and rebuilt into something completely different, who have a testimony of God’s grace that is riveting. In the process of unwanted interruptions, God brings us to Himself and it deepens our relationship with Him, bringing about pure gold.
That was my thought about the son and brother who have professed knowing Jesus most of their lives. They have heard about grace, but when God’s kindness and mercy show up and fix their unfixable situations, they can say, ‘now grace lives with me.’ And their Christian lives will explode into directions they never could have plotted out. Just when God will do that, I don’t know. But because of His ‘chesed,’ I know He will.
God leads us with cords of kindness and bands of love, bending low to ease the yoke on our jaws. Jesus appears with His goodness and kindness and saves us from our troubles, or at least gives us a ‘new normal’ with the strength that comes from Him to handle whatever yoke that is on our jaws.