"But where sin increased, grace increased all the more..." Romans 5:20The farther I walk this journey, often, the more brutal it grows. Somewhere along the way, often during times of green pasture and still water where beauty captivates, you forget there is yet ... the war.
But as the good shepherd, always and ever restoring, leads you out of rest for your weary soul and back along the treacherous paths of the straight and narrow, there you see it. The ugly and the broken, the war torn and the wounded. Casualities of an enemy many deny exist, lay bleeding out, barely living. You work to heal, bind up wounds, speak life. You call others to break from the trance, lulled to sleep by the charms of their enemy, their master. You plead with them, to stand up, to walk along with you. To chose life and follow this shepherd, can't you see he his good and you are waiting here to be devoured?
You wonder why you have to travel these roads, why the good shepherd would lead you here? He explains how his love compells him to seek and save these lost. And he has made you to join him in this war. He calls forth courage within you, calls you 'Mighty Warrior' though he knows how you quake within. In his calling you become, and there is more, a new name he has yet to bestow. A name that will only be understood between he and you, when the war is over and your journey complete in the Great City, there with the King.
It takes me remembering the truth of the big picture to get over myself, get over the trivial hurts of my small story so that I can live out the bigger story he is calling me, calling us, to embody. And as I see us all, so fragile, so desperate for our Good Shepherd and hungry for love and so continually wounding one another in our insecurity, I become a grace addict. I need it, you need it. And I'll never keep to this straight and narrow without it. The bitterness of pain and the aching of wounds would tangle me up keeping me captive in its thorny hold. You can't live free holding onto hurt, holding onto wrongs.
So where sin increases, Lord Jesus, make your grace increase all the more. In me, in others. Let us be the people of grace. Let it be the banner that waves above us and the song on our lips. We who have been forgiven much, love much. And how we have been forgiven.