What Turns Shepherd Boys Into Kings? This Little Word Right Here.

I’ve been thinking a lot about grace this week, and the sure threads of redemption that bind our tattered stories together.

Things go around and come around and never, ever run in a straight line. We hurt one another because of our own embroiled bitterness, insecurity and pain. When bad things happen, we blame karma, and we often pray people get what they deserve.

So many of us pretend we’re OK when we’re really just experts at holding grudges, and we secretly harbor ill will.

And though this life is never simple, and certainly never pain free, despite karma or consequence, it always works right in the end. Complex and complicated, damaged and torn, we stand. Together, apart, arms outstretched, wrapped around or holding at length. We battle.

We love and we hate and everything in between.

It’s a brave new world in which we live. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, ask, smartphones, we’re all just a second away from running into each other. All times of every day, we weave. In and out, back and forth. Weaving, crafting, silvery webs. I’ve been caught many times in a dangerous web; trying to untangle myself from its thin, sticky veins.

Choosing judgement, criticism and gossip because it feels good in the moment. Justified vengeance.

But time passes and life evolves. Battles are fought and hard lessons learned. Relationships and people change. And somewhere down the road of life we eventually stumble upon grace.

We stumble because I do not believe we can find it on our own.

Grace: undeserved mercy.

It is those people, those times, those circumstances that give rise to our innate desire for vengeance, retaliation and an overwhelming feeling of injustice.

To give grace is so contrary to our nature that it cannot be of ourselves. Any possibility of giving undeserved mercy surely requires the divine assistance of supernatural God.

Because grace allows us to forgive someone who never asked for forgiveness, who never even said they were sorry. It allows us to choose and act with a spirit of love and kindness in the face of continued hostility. It allows us to truly encourage and lift up another soul with a pure heart.

We find grace not because we’re noble or righteous, but because we realize how much we need it ourselves. And we’ve learned by trial and error that holding the burden of anger and unforgiveness only wearies our already tired heart.

And because I’ve seen redemption so clearly—in hardened hearts and near broken marriages and bitter embattled feuds: I’m convinced that as surely as the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, He will have His way with us.

In whatever way He must break us to give in to grace, He will. In whatever way He must strip us, so that He can mold us to Him, He will. It is not a question of when, but how. And at what cost?

How long will we hold onto stubborn pride before we just let Him do His work in us?

Because when we find grace, a weight is lifted that frees us to love others well despite how they treat us. To look past the person who hurt us and see their own pain. Feel their own loss.

It’s when you look back and see the redemption story: how you never, ever, ever should have been the one, and yet there you are. Giving grace. Sharing sorrow. Encouraging hope, and choosing joy. 

It’s when we see the person and realize all along they were just looking for grace.

Because it’s all grace.

Every bit of this life.

Walk away if you must, but love. Bitterness only burdens your already weary heart and we’re called to be free. He will have His way with us, that is a promise. And somewhere down the road when you stumble on grace, you will look back and see redemption’s clear story.

And you’ll be grateful that it happened exactly the way that it did.

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Tammy Strait
Tammy Strait is a mom of 3 boys, writer, and non-lawyering lawyer living in beautiful northern Idaho. You can find her blogging at Grace Uncommon and join her on her Facebook page.