[Part 1, Chapter 6]
Father God does not give us expectations to live up to, but possibilities to live in to.
That is the miracle of favour.
We have turned grace into a law. In order to receive grace, there are hoops we have to jump through and methods we have to follow.
Yes, we have God’s grace, but to receive it, we feel we have to do this and this and this.
We find it unbelievable that God always has a yes for us and that his heart is always open toward us.
A few years ago, I was visiting a mate’s elderly mother with him. His father, her husband, had died some years earlier. She was now in poor health herself, lonely of heart, and questioning why she was left. Just before we shared communion together, she turned, looked at me, and said, “Oh Peter, I don’t know if I’m worthy enough!”
The son said to me afterwards, “That is the typical response in the upbringing we’ve had. We’re not good enough or worthy enough to receive until we’ve said the right words and gone through the proper ritual.” Somehow, we have presumed that living in grace must be preceded by an attitude of grovelling.
Around that time, the mother of another friend was dying. When he talked with her of the assurance of Father’s love in the face of death, her response was, “Oh, I do hope so. I hope I’m good enough.”
This friend said to me, “How sad. After 80 years of church every Sunday, she still wasn’t assured she was good enough.” Then with tears in his eyes, he said, “Something’s wrong there somewhere don’t you think?”
What is wrong with the system is a reflection of what goes wrong in you and me when we misguidedly believe that favour is contingent on living up to expectations we presume God has placed upon us. It quickly renders favour impotent and has us grovelling, heavy-laden with shame and guilt.
Favour is not about expectations to live up to, but possibilities to live into.
That is because favour comes without qualifications. In turn then, because it is without qualifications, it is without expectations.
None of us deserve favour. Mary didn’t, and neither do we. That’s why it is called favour.
The Apostle Paul uses the phrase, “Grace, mercy, and peace.”
Grace is where we get what we don’t deserve. Mercy is where we don’t get what we do deserve. Peace is the result of a life lived in favour, where grace and mercy are our closest companions.
How remarkable that we are part of the miracle of the favour.