Christianity is the only religion that exclaims “grace” – when all other religions have humans striving with all that they have in order to reach the throne of god, our God comes down Himself.
He comes down, not of curiosity or simple benevolence, but as an utter sacrifice. He comes down to die, establishing a way to have the fallen humans come back to the utmost loving, peaceful, joyful arms of the Creator.
Thus, Christianity proclaims what Christ had declared when He was on the cross for our sins: “It is finished”. It shows that the only reason we can enjoy fellowship with the Almighty during our life on Earth and eventually enter into Heaven thereafter is purely out of the grace of God, not of our works.
On the Palm
Every time I think about my work and effort alongside God's grace, an image of me running a race in the palm of God's hand comes into mind.
God walks over to Heaven with His hand open. He is taking me there as I am running around full of sweat, countlessly falling down and standing back up, while Jesus runs right next to me, coaching me, leading me and helping me to get back up... but God has already taken me to Heaven.
He sits in the throne watching the race that is taken in His hand. I am running with the Holy Spirit's water and blood pumping in my heart, Christ the champion as my coach and God overlooking everything... the race is finished yet unfinished, I have won the race yet I am still running.
Everything that happens, whether it be good or bad, it is perfectly safe, because nothing goes outside the palm of God's hands. I am firmly grounded in the warmth of His hand.
I am not running towards Heaven because I am not there yet. God has literally already brought me to Heaven, the race is watched in Heaven. Yet I am running with Heaven in my view, not because I am not there but because that's what I can see in my view at the finishing line.
A race is still a race
I am prone to closing my eyes so often in exhaustion, and I don't see Heaven anymore. So I run outside the tracks, misguided by my blinded judgements. I run for nothing, as nothing is in my view. But Jesus opens my eyes again and again, pours me the water of the Spirit again, quenching my thirst and reminding me of my destination.
His love makes me wake up, get back up, run up.
I was in great agony as I reflected on the race Jesus ran and the race Paul ran. compared to their fight, mine seemed so tiny and childlike. But God tells me in my prayer that a race is still a race - whether it be a primary school cross-country or the biggest Olympic athletics.
A race is still a race. Who knows I am being trained for an Olympic race?
But the most comforting of all is the fact that all races are taken on the tracks of God's palm lines. It finishes when God picks me up with His finger and takes me outside His hand, unto the land of Heaven.
Already but not yet
From start to finish, it's all God. Yet I am in running gear, head to toe, huffing and puffing in sweat. I am in the greatest comfort yet my heart aches in the burn caused by exhaustive running. This is the life of the 'already but not yet', the greatest race that has already been finished yet is still going.
As I reflect on this reality once again, I ask these questions to myself today:
Is this a reality in my life today?
Do I feel the heartaches and taste the sweat drops?
Am I still running, or merely strolling?
Sunny is as a weak as a broken reed, a flickering candle. But Abba God shows His abundant mercy again and again by incredibly loving this hopeless being. Soli deo Gloria.