Updated: Feb 17, 2020
“Lean in close to the grace of God.” I would venture to say that most of us have either said this to someone or received this advice during a time of stress or suffering.
But have you ever stopped to ponder what this really means? As a Christ follower, what does that mean? As a foster parent, potential foster parent, kinship parent, or biological parent, what does it mean to lean into the grace of God?
Recently I found myself in pursuit of needing to know why and how to “lean into the grace of God”.
Following the difficult transition of our first foster daughter into kinship care, this advice was given to me and my family.
We are the Spangler’s: Steven, Lacey, and our 7-year-old biological daughter, Lilah. We know beyond a shadow of doubt we are called into the service of fostering children, to love the least of these, to the glory of God. Therefore, it seems logical that I would know, and collectively as a family unit we would know, that we need the grace of God to complete the task He has asked us to do. But in the face of this first loss, I found myself reading a text encouraging me to lean into the grace of God and asking myself, “what does that even mean?”. Then the stirring of the Holy Spirit led me to learn all I could about the wonderful, never-ending, powerful grace of God.
In 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 Paul writes “to this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ”.
Read Paul’s prayer very carefully and then meditate on it.
Do you see it? Do you see that Paul is telling us exactly how and why to lean into the grace of God?
Why? So that the Lord may be glorified! How? By faith and by the power of God! Yes, grace is the unmerited favor of God, but grace is also power.
In a sermon by John Piper (linked and well worth your time to listen) he makes the case that “God’s answer to Paul’s prayer that we rely on God’s power to do good works is grace. God’s power to enable you to do what you resolve to do, is grace.” Consider also 2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
So, my brothers and sisters in Christ, let us lean into the gift of grace that is the power of God, as we resolve to love the least of these regardless of circumstances or our own perceived limited capacities.
The work is difficult, but oh so rewarding, especially when you tap into the power of Jesus Christ as your cornerstone. Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:7), trusting and believing Christ to be faithful to sustain you, and the unyielding power of the Holy Spirit to guide and fully sustain you in your every step, decision, thought, action, spoken word, and breath all to the glory of God.
How wonderful a gift to see God’s magnificent work and his glory on this side of heaven! We receive the privilege to be included in the sovereign plan of the Lord, albeit sometimes hurtful and messy. Because we abide in Jesus and can be nothing apart from him, we can be confident that in our dependence and obedience to his calling, we will be branches that bear good fruit. Press on my friends, press on.