Surprised by Grace!
What Delights Your Heart?
For a seven-year old boy a pile of freshly-raked leaves will cause squeals of joy. Seeing your child playing and laughing with no worries or fears just might bring joy to your heart (aside from the messed up pile of leaves you just raked!). What else brings great joy to your heart?
What Delights God’s Heart?
YOU delight God’s heart.
“For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs” (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT).
The surprise is that He takes great delight in you as you are now. He’s your Father and He loves you as you are. As you are right now! You don’t have to get everything right or fix yourself. He delights in YOU!
Delightful Surprises on Your Healing Journey
Your Abba Father delights in YOU. He will surprise you with joy on the Healing Journey.
The journey can be very intense at times as you go through the pain and grieve your losses.
Your Abba will allow circumstances that bring you face-to-face with what needs healing and grace. Oh, is that ever painful at times!
Along the journey to the Father’s heart of love, He will delight your heart with grace.
Let me illustrate by telling you my own experience.
Shame Drove Me to My Healing Journey
To be honest, the pain of shame and guilt drove me toward the Healing Journey. I felt heart-crushing shame, “Something is wrong with me that must be fixed.” (You can read more of my story in my free ebook and on my “About” page). Guilt over not meeting the “Christian standards” crippled me. My focus was on my shame and my sin.
At the beginning I had no idea that I was even on a healing journey to the Father’s heart. I just wanted relief from pain. I was committed to following God no matter what. I didn’t know that He was far more devoted to me.
My journey led to Japan. My Abba Father called me to serve the Japanese as a missionary. God was ministering through me to the Japanese on one level. I was learning and teaching grace. (Read my previous blog posts about God’s amazing work in the lives of two sisters).
On the other level I was on the Healing Journey. I was about to come face-to-face with the excruciating pain of shame.
Shame needs to be covered. My missionary identity made a comfortable covering. Or did it?
My Covering for Shame Was Not Enough
How could I live up to my perception of the perfect missionary? I viewed J. Hudson Taylor, the founder of my mission organization, as my hero and example of faith. I still struggled with trusting God.
And then I didn’t fit the missionary mold. I loved teaching God’s Word, but I was not an aggressive evangelist. As a single missionary, I had lots of time to spend hanging out with the Japanese. My great joy was spending time in God’s presence and then sharing Him with the Japanese in non-intrusive ways. Building caring relationships was my primary concern. I wanted to truly love my friends whether they decided to follow Christ or not.
I prayed. I shared the gospel. Then I stepped back to let God work in their hearts. You can imagine that this process was not a quick one. God worked in His time and with a few, not large numbers.
The pastor and elder board of the church where I worked criticized me. I was not like the previous missionaries who brought in many new people to the church. To the Japanese church leaders, I was not acting like a real missionary. I did not meet the standard.
Their words cut to the core of my very fragile self. I did not have the confidence to stand up to their criticism. My missionary identity was ripped off. I was devastated.
You can guess who was standing with me through all the pain and humiliation.
Surprised by My New Covering
God my Father and the Lord Jesus with the power of the Holy Spirit met me in that very painful time. Colossians 3:12a spoke to my heart in a very healing and powerful way: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved…” I saw the truth and believed it. The Father chose me. I am holy and dearly loved. I am His beloved!
The Lord totally overwhelmed with the sense of His presence and love. For about a month I felt like I was walking in heaven.
Abba Father delighted me with the fullness of His love.
The word “fullness” describes the grace He gave me. I was filled with His love and joy. Praise and thanksgiving filled me instead of depression, discouragement, criticism and complaining. I certainly had complained about my circumstances and the Japanese who criticized me. Now I was overflowing with love for everyone. Amazing miracle!
The Lord’s love and grace became the covering for my shame. The power of this love was transforming. The Japanese people saw the difference in me.
My relationship with a young girl and her mother in the church was healed as a result of this surprising grace. They had been angry with me for not meeting their expectations. Then they saw me experience God’s love. His love touched their hearts, and we became very close. We marveled at the work that God did in all of our hearts.
Abba Will Delight You with His Love
God our Father will delight your heart with His love. He reveals His love to you in specific ways that you understand. Your heart will dance with joy because you will know it’s your Abba showing His love. You might sense His presence and love through reading the Word, in a prayer time, in a difficult trial, in a sunrise, in the words of a friend or in a church worship service. He just might supply a tangible need or a desire—finances, a car, clothing, a husband or a wife. Or He might allow some pain to drive you closer to Himself. In the midst of that pain, open your heart to Him. He will show up and reveal His love.
Abba Father, fill the heart of your beloved who is reading this with your love, joy and peace. Reveal Your heart of love. Glorify Your name. All glory to You! In Jesus’ name, Amen!
You may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story or ask questions.
Grace to you!