By Brooke Holt
“Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.” Proper 23, The Collect, Book of Common Prayer (p. 234-235)
After being delivered from the land of Egypt, the Israelites traveled through the wilderness towards the Promised Land. Without a map or an iPhone, how would they know where to go? Just as God delivered them, God continually led them by his presence: “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night” (Exodus 13:21). What had these people done to deserve this care of the Lord? Absolutely nothing! Challenging people who complained every time they faced challenges, they even longed to go back to their slavery in Egypt.
God’s grace was above them, before them, and behind them. He loved his people with a steadfast love, and he was faithful to the covenant he had made with Abraham. God did not provide hiss presence and guidance to the Israelites based on their worthiness; God’s presence and guidance led them based on his grace. The Lord knew their frailties, understood them, and loved them despite their unfaithfulness.
The same holds true for you. God has set his love upon you. You are a child of the covenant, and he is committed to you. He will be present with you and lead you during your times of faithfulness and unfaithfulness. Granted, you are more inclined to be aware of his presence when you seek him and attune your heart to him; yet, even when you do not, he is there. He is watching, guiding, providing, and loving you.
As the Collect prays today, grace precedes you and follows you. Are you aware of that grace? Are you living in it? While God loves you and has an amazing plan for your life, the enemy hates you and has plans for your destruction. Grace leads you to the abundant life Christ came to give you; disobedience to the will and way of God can rob you of God’s best.
Choosing to turn your eyes from the Lord and forget his presence and guidance makes it much easier to choose the things of this world. Those choices have consequences such as shame, guilt, and regret. We all miss the mark and all experience those consequences. When we do, God always invites us to turn back to his grace. He is there. He has not left you nor has his love for you changed. Your sin has blinded you and hardened you. The Lord stands ready to embrace you, to redeem you, and to heal you.
Lift your eyes to see the one who goes before you and behind you. Receive his grace. Let that grace wash away every bit of shame, guilt, and regret that you may walk in his abundant life today.
Are you stuck in shame, guilt, and regret? The Lord does not condemn you nor does he want you to stay in those feelings. He longs to shower his grace upon you. Ask him to open your eyes and your heart to fully receive his grace and love today. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Awaken the awe and the wonder of Advent! “The King Is Coming” is a 4-week Advent devotional especially written with a child’s heart in mind. It takes families through the salvation story by focusing on who God is, the gift of Jesus, and the importance of celebrating and sharing that miraculous gift! Bring your family together this Advent season for a journey exploring God’s big love for you.
Comments will be approved before showing up.