Future Grace, Baby!
When I was pregnant with our first child it seemed like all of my related worries were shrouded in the mystery of the unknown. And now with our fourth child on the way, even in the midst of exuberant joy and thankfulness for this new life, worries creep into my imagination like looming, stone statues.
I can recall the physical challenge of carrying a baby while caring for my young children and serving my husband who struggles with chronic pain. I’m reminded of what labor feels like when I support women as a birth doula. I can remember what it’s like to feel bone-weary and emotionally spent at the end of the day knowing a long night was ahead.
If you called me on the phone right now to catch up and chat about “what’s new” I could rattle off in one breath all the circumstances that worry me. The challenges ahead of me are real, but what I need to meditate on is that God’s grace to me in Christ is the most durable reality in which I live.
God has laid a firm foundation for my faith in his excellent word. Instead of rehearsing my circumstances to myself, I can speak to myself about God’s concrete promises. And by God’s grace I have tasted the sweetness of his faithfulness in the past, which emboldens my hope in his future faithfulness. I want these truths to come to my mind first, and I want their enormity and weightiness to occupy my heart in such a way that not a single hissing lie can slide in.
Unless we’re very intentional about meditating on these truths [that show God’s love], they slip from our thoughts like misty dreams that evaporate in the morning light. That’s why Luther said we must “take heed then, to embrace the love and kindness of God and to daily exercise our faith therein, entertain no doubt of God's love and kindness.” (Elyse Fitzpatrick, Because He Loves Me)
When the truth of God’s love slips from my thoughts, the lie I’m prone to believe questions Jesus’ willingness to help me. Especially in those times I need the healing balm of the gospel to again tell me how God showed his love for me while I was still an ungodly sinner (Romans 5:6–8).
A ‘Yes’ for the Ages
When Jesus saw the days drawing near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51). He knew what awaited him there. A cross. With a cross-facing, shame-despising, joy-anticipating “yes” that would reverberate throughout the ages, Jesus is indeed willing to save.
Instead of trying to add hours to my life through anxiety-listing, I need to meditate on the life-giving truth that through his work on the cross Jesus secured for those who would believe an irrevocable place in God’s family. God’s future grace is tethered to the present reality of that adoption. “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). Here, our timid hearts can find assurance.
Manna for Mommas
The unknowns of our future earthly circumstances can threaten to overwhelm us, but the reality for those who are in Christ Jesus is that the future is burgeoning with God’s kingdom that is prepared for us from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34).
Your future includes manna. It will come. There is no sense devising future scenarios now because God will do more than you anticipate. When you understand God's plan to give future grace, you have access to what is arguably God's most potent salve against worry and fear. (Ed Welch, Running Scared)
Who is more willing to help his children than our heavenly Father? His steadfast love is better than life (Psalm 63:3). He turns to us according to his abundant mercy (Psalm 69:16). “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
This kind of love will not let us go.
God’s indomitable, unflinching resolve to love us keeps our hearts anchored in his grace today, tomorrow, and forever.
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