The other day, my friend Lynn Hiles was here to speak in our church. Our conversation turned to West Virginia and the upcoming conference. He and I had a short conversation about something that happened while I was in West Virgina last September. While I was down there the Lord spoke something very powerful to my heart.
It was not a word that was spoken or part of a message. Here is what I heard and saw.
I was watching a road. On this road was a car. While they were driving, they were starting to slowly swerve side to side. There was guardrails like any country road. As I watched it started to hit the guardrails. First slowly and then a little faster. After being tossed about, finally the car came to a stop. There were dents and scratches all around the car as the result of the actions of the vehicle. I looked at the vehicle and that was when I heard the sound of the Lord’s voice.
He began to talk to me. He shared with me that the car was damaged (I could see that.) as the result of the accident. He then began to break out with me the thoughts related to what I saw and what was represented.
He said the guardrails were the representation of the the mercy that He extended to us. (We know that we are to extend mercy as well. Matthew 5:7) The vehicle (us) is still banged up, still damaged, but the full destruction was prevented by the guardrails (mercy) that kept it in the road. He then went on to explain that were grace allowed to operate, through it’s empowerment, it would keep the car in the center of it’s lane. Grace was in fact, the power that allowed the vehicle to stay in it’s lane and not rely on the guardrails.
His point at the time was that mercy was important, in fact even life saving. (Romans 3:9-10) But the greater point was that grace was the empowerment or the ability to not go near the guardrails. To stay in our lane. To not enter danger. We see that “truth and grace” are found in the person of Christ. We recognize His life living through in us, but too often we neglect to let His life live through us.
For many months I have meditated on this vision and voice. It has been 8 months or so. And this week I began to see more clearly what was being said. My reliance on His mercy was being “challenged”. No, He was not saying He would no longer extend mercy. (His blessings and mercies are new every day. Lamentations 3:22-23) He was showing me that there was something “bigger” that was available. A true empowerment and working of His strength and His goodness that would come through me. It would keep me from the need to panic or need to trust in guardrails.
The result? My car(me) would not be banged up and damaged. But it would be whole because I allowed His grace to empower me to “drive” well.
As I spoke to Him more about this, I knew that mercy was real and I knew that grace was real. But sometimes I would fall back on mercy rather than relying on the power of grace. And the question that has been in my mind is my operation from a point of mercy or a point of grace? Do I just let things happen, knowing He will “catch” me or do I allow grace to operate with power and excellence?
I read this story about Napoleon and mercy. A mother once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death. “But I don’t ask for justice,” the mother explained. “I plead for mercy.” “But your son does not deserve mercy,” Napoleon replied. “Sir,” the woman cried, “It would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for.” “Well, then,” the emperor said, “I will have mercy.” And he spared the woman’s son.
Mercy is important and life saving.
The more grace is plumbed the more I see it as part of the “operating system” if not in fact the operating system. It is because of the empowerment of grace I can love unconditionally. It is because of grace that I can accomplish my destiny and operate with purpose. And the huge end result is I am preserved, remaining whole and functional and able to go further.
Now please do not say I am preaching against mercy, because I am not. I am just saying a lot of what I watch about me, is because the Life (grace) of Christ is not being “set free” in lives. I am oh so thankful for mercy. But I am encouraged and changed by grace! Mercy requires nothing of the recipient. But, grace requires nothing as well, except acceptance, but it is then that so much more than a “pardon” is given.
Grace extenders change lives, empowering lives to change exponentially. God gave grace in His son that our lives would be without limit, without destruction and able to change all that is about us. Amazing grace…
Please consider sharing, commenting, etc.