Lately I've been feeling like a hermit crab which, having poked its head out of its shell for a while, looked about, chatted with a few passers-by, but now has suddenly decided to draw back into its private shell again. I mean, I suspended my participation in my church's leadership institute, and now I've stopped leading a small group. This has not been a concerted thing, not a planned thing, but along with my dissatisfaction with the PDL program, it's caused me to feel kind of out-of-step with my church. I really don't want to be a loner, but that's kind of how I feel right now.
What I know is that throughout this time I need to be seeking God. Yesterday in my prayers I felt as if God asked me this question: How much grace are you willing to offer? Have you measured it out--this much for so-and-so, and even more for good measure--I tell you it's not enough. More will be required. I am calling on you, son, to offer more.
Now, I have no idea what this applies to, or exactly what it means. But I'd been reading in Genesis that morning, and I'd been dwelling on 15:6, "Abram believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness."
Well, somehow I think these two issues, the grace that is required of God's children as they walk through this world, and the faith to trust God even when His promise seems absurd, are both bound up together. And I think that in this time of withdrawing that I am going through right now, the devil has been very quietly digging under the walls of my faith, seeking by slow degrees to undermine them. And I also believe he has a timetable, the devil does, and he needs to complete his work by a particular day and hour in order to have the maximum effect. That time, that day and hour is coming, it is the time of faith-testing. In that time, so he hopes, my faith will crumble.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not afraid of him. But I do think that these times of faith-testing do come in our lives, and we come through them stronger in our faith or perhaps weaker for a time. And as I thought about these things, I just knew that if such a time should come, it will be the grace I offer another that will get me through. More grace, God seemed to be saying, than I have yet imagined. And this is how my faith would stand. This is how it would be "walked out." When that time comes, I wrote in my journal, you will learn the true length and breadth and height and depth of love. Is this what it means to stand in grace? Not only the forgiveness of God for us, but the forgiveness we offer, in the power of the Spirit, freely to another?
And you know, as I said, I don't know what any of this has to do with me. But I'm looking for it now. And I'm wondering about it. I'm staying watchful. I would value your responses here.