Falling Into Grace
By Andrea D. Hedlund
"I have to get away, " I desperately pleaded with my husband on a warm October Friday afternoon. "Let's go hiking."
What? After days of moping around, accomplishing almost nothing, consumed by the stubborn mountain I call depression, how could I have the audacity to even suggest such a retreat?
Looking back, I doubt his first reaction was "Sure, honey. Let's drop everything, grab some quick things, book a hotel, find a good trail, and go ... right now."
I suspect his inner dialogue probably sounded more like this: "Here I am worn out from working, just wanting to relax at home, and you come along with this ridiculous notion. You sleep almost all day, and now suddenly you think we should drive halfway across the state - with no real plan - to climb up some mountain?"
As the words escaped my lips, I winced inside. My weaknesses shouldn’t be applauded and rewarded.
I knew I didn’t deserve a weekend get-away to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Yet, that’s what we did. Less than two hours later, I was behind the wheel, which was part of his agreement for the trip. He was comfortably situated with a soft, beige blanket and worn-out pillow. He soon drifted into sleep.
With only the rush of the wind and the voices from the radio of baseball commentators reaching my ears, the rhythm of the road was almost therapeutic.
No, I wasn’t trying to run away from my problems. I just needed a little R&R, so what could be better than some time in the wilderness?
The next morning, I cautiously (but excitedly) meandered up and down country roads en route to our hiking destination, Crabtree Falls.
Feeling rather fervent, I was determined to take my weak and tired little body to the tip-top of that mountain.
So we began our trek…
Along the way, I marveled and stood in awe of God’s creation. I appreciated the subtle color changes in the maple leaves. And I strained my ears to hear the trickle of mountain stream water as it slipped through moss-covered boulders.
Sometime later we made it to the top. Neither of us carried watches or cell phones that day, and time didn’t matter much. Instead, we soaked up the view before wandering off the beaten path to dip our toes in the exhilarating creek water.
For me, this hike wasn’t about success or failure, although I was glad to make it to the top only slightly out of breath.
God’s message finally found its way to my heart. Up to that moment, I compared myself to Joshua, wandering aimlessly in the desert for 40 years. I sought the Lord with everything in me; I fell on my face so many nights – literally in my living room – and cried out in desperation to Him.
I could probably count my failures on all 10 fingers and all 10 toes plus some, but that’s not what He wanted to tell me.
Andrea, My grace is sufficient for you…
Ah ha! I finally understood. My precious relationship with the Lord wasn’t about how imperfect I am, or an enormous list with all the times I have “let Him down.” Oh, it’s so much more!
No, I do not deserve His grace, but neither does anyone else.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
But that is the beauty of grace. Despite our weaknesses, we are made whole through Jesus Christ. As believers, we have free, unlimited access to His divine assistance. His grace is ALWAYS sufficient.
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
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