I used to run the race of life on the front lines of the battle. I was strong and it felt good to spend myself attaining not just satisfaction - but also gaining ground in nearing the proximity of my perceived goals. As time passed, I found my goals were always changing, and I never reached the end of my struggle. I ran, and ran, and ran accomplishing more but gaining nothing. My speed was frantic - but for all my efforts, it was fast getting me nowhere.
And then, long before the race was done, something broke. Enter PD. It slowed my forward progress, yet I was no less driven to win. I was like the Israelites - in bondage - striving to make my quota of bricks - just barely keeping ahead of the demand when the straw - a necessary ingredient of bricks - was no longer given. The demands for brick remained the same but without the straw given to me, it took more strength, more time, more skill.
I felt hedged in, troubled, oppressed in every way, perplexed and unable to find a way out, hard driven, alone, struck down to the ground - and in all things I felt the sentence of death to my mortal being. Something had to give. I needed either a new quota of bricks, a new task master, or renewed ability to perform.
My ability was not renewed. In fact it weakened and I became increasingly unable to perform. The quota did not change. The same was still required - the standard was not lowered. The only way I was to survive was by grace. Someone had to step into my place and make the bricks that were required. The quota must be met. The standard could not be lowered. Someone needed to step in to do the things for me I could not do.
Here I was a failure in every way. I had become an invalid. I couldn't take care of myself and certainly not anyone else. I could earn nothing, nor did I deserve any help based on my accomplishments. According to my performance, I was deficient. Only grace could give me dignity. Only an act of unmerited favor could raise me from the disgrace of total uselessness. Only grace could put me into a position of honor.
King David once gave grace to a man named Mephibosheth, who was the son of an enemy and a cripple. Mephibosheth was hiding in fear from the king in a place called Lo-Debar (which means no pasture), when the king invited him to eat at the king's table and be provided for all of his days.
I am a picture of grace! Even my name (Anna) means "grace". Once I was broken and lost - useless - and an enemy to God. Like Mephibosheth, I was an invalid. I was without dignity or honor, existing like Mephibosheth in a terrible place where there was no pasture - no sustenance (it is equated with no Word of God. We know that Jesus IS the Word, so we can conclude that we came from a place bereft of Jesus as Lord). Jesus, my King, extended grace and took me in all of my brokeness, gave me dignity, and raised me to a place of honor.
If you want to understand grace, look at me. Understand my earlier condition of disgrace. Understand my need. Then look and see what God has done for me. If you have never accepted all the love Jesus offers you - if you have never received the grace that He freely offers to you, then please stop to ponder it. Do not walk away from this gift. I encourage you to receive it as eagerly as you would receive a gift in beautiful wrapping!