A boulder reminding us of how big problems can become

By Jeanne Takenaka

How many times have we missed the grace God offers to us?

Sometimes a simple phone call causes life to take a hard turn. A trusted instructor for one of our sons shared information that rocked my world. He observed a condition that answered a lot of questions Hubs and I had. But his difficult-to-hear words took time to process.

I began reading what I could and talking with a friend whose child has a similar condition. And, I called our doctor’s office to begin the testing process. Only this boy-man wasn’t the right age to see the person who could help us.

A bridge over a river with rocks lining each bank...a visual for the peace that we can have when we accept the grace God offers us

Days slipped into weeks, and my hopes for completing testing before school began six weeks later faded. Each passing day pressed hard on my heart, on my thoughts, as we continued with no progress forward.

I shared my frustration (desperation, really) with a friend who is closely connected with our doctor’s office. Within a day, we had the process moving forward. 

How many times have I tried to solve a problem on my own?

How many times have I attempted to carry the weight of a burden too heavy for my shoulders?

A river with sunrise-colored clouds reflecting on its surface, interrupted by rocks...the beauty is a visual that reminds us of the grace God offers us

I’ve said it before. I’m a “git-er-done” woman. Why ask for help if I can do it myself?

But sometimes the problem is too complex for me to figure out. There are too many moving pieces and too many factors to evaluate that I simply can’t gain the answers for. 

Sometimes the burden is far too unwieldy for my small fifty-something shoulders. 

When I try to do things in my own strength, I sort of tell God, “Speak to the hand, I’ve got this, Lord.”

I ignore the grace God offers. 

A river flowing over rocks and curving ... symbolic of how life curves and gives us opportunities to accept the grace God offers us

Recognizing the Grace God Offers

Sometimes grace looks like a provision I didn’t know I’d need. 

A friend who has been through the trial I’m struggling with.

Sometimes grace looks like rest.

And I too often ignore it. 

I’m thankful God has given me the capacity to handle what He has. But I’m even more thankful that when life’s problems loom too large, He’s there with me. 

Sometimes, He’s just waiting for me to turn to Him.

The grace God offers is always available, whether or not we embrace it. But why would we ignore it when He’s already offered it? 

For me that answer—and I’m hanging my head—is frequently pride and control. 

A waterfall flowing between large rocks and with large tree branches criss-crossing, reminding us that God's grace flows even in life's hard places

Pride because I’ve been caught up in being self-sufficient. I’m quick to believe I have the necessary knowledge, and I craft a plan. But, in that place of independence is also isolation. I isolate myself from God and from those who love me. 

Control because I like to be the one who determines my steps and the timing of things. Which reveals my pride . . .

God doesn’t force His grace on us. But when we choose to walk in our strength rather than His grace, we’ll end up weary and discouraged. When we pour all of ourselves into dealing with our challenges without allowing God’s grace to fill us, we end up empty.

Conclusion

How do we handle those way-too-big situations that force themselves into our lives? In the case of walking through our son’s diagnosis, there were many days when I was barely able to draw a deep breath.

A picture of white flowers hanging over a small stream

This turned into a season where a number of big hard situations pried their way into my easy-to-manage life. 

It was in that season when I came to terms with the fact that all my managing, all my trying to do things on my own, wasn’t enough. God had more for me, if I would trust Him.

In His tenderness, God reminded me of His nearness. He walked with me through each decision, each phone call with a professional, each outburst as our son grappled with this life-altering condition.

Meme that says: "Our Father's grace is a gift waiting to be unwrapped by a yearning heart." on a backdrop of yellow flowers and a blurred image of a waterfall.

There is no shame in accepting the grace God offers. Our Father’s grace is a gift waiting to be unwrapped by a yearning heart. Will we unwrap and use His present, or trample on it by denying His goodness?

What about you? When have you found God’s grace in a difficult situation? How does God’s grace show up in your life?

Click to Tweet: When I try to do things in my own strength, I sort of tell God, “Speak to the hand, I’ve got this, Lord.”

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