What is “His Encouragement?”
Thursdays are always a really long day of the week for me. Since I’m a pastor, Sunday feels like the natural beginning to my week. By the time I get to Thursday, I am tired and drained. That’s why I’m excited to join with a group of blogging friends in order to offer you a weekly devotional which will be posted every Thursday. We are calling the series, “His Encouragement.”
It is my prayer that these words of encouragement inspired by scripture will help to carry you through the rest of your week My prayer is that this weekly series will be a much needed of reminder that God loves you.
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7
I cried the first time I saw the Thames. We were taking a morning stroll through the idyllic little village of Twickenham and when we came around a corner, there was Grandfather Thames, stretched out in front of me. It was an absolutely beautiful scene, with boats docked along the pier and a gentle mist rising off of the water.
I started crying because I was so happy. I studied English in college and I’ve read hundreds of books in my lifetime by English authors or set in England. I couldn’t believe I was finally there and that I was finally seeing the place I had read about all these years for myself! We had been in England for an entire day at that point but it hadn’t felt real until I finally came face to face with that beautiful river.
The moment was made even more poignant by the fact that I am very aware that there may come a time in my life when I am no longer able to see. It’s a strange feeling, knowing that the day may come when the faces of my friends and loved ones will be lost to me. It’s painful knowing that I am not be able to have children because of the complex nature of my condition.
I hope to see many more beautiful things before I lose my sight completely. There may come I time when I see nothing at all. But if that day comes, I’m happy that I at least saw the Thames.
The Grace That Saves
When Christians speak about God’s love, we speak about God’s amazing grace. The term “grace,” is the human way of expressing God’s love for us. The word “grace,” is similar to the word “love,” in English. We use the word love in different contexts. We might say:
I love my spouse,
I love my mother.
I love my church.
In each of those statements, we use the word love; however, the term love has a slightly different meaning in this context. The way we love our spouse is very different than the way we love our church. Furthermore, the way we love the church is different from the way we love our parents or grandparents.
When we talk about grace (especially in the context of the United Methodist church), we use the word grace in the same way as we use the word love. Sometimes, you will hear people talk about prevenient grace, justifying grace, or sanctifying grace. These are all different ways of attempting to explain the way that God loves us.
Prevenient grace is the love of God that has gone before. It has been since before the beginning of time and will be for all eternity.
Justifying grace is the love of God that saves us from sin and a broken world.
Sanctifying grace is the love of God that makes us holy. It inspires all our actions and all our thoughts to be guided by the love of God.
I Need a Savior
Today, I am being most encouraged by the the concept of God’s love we call justifying grace. I need to be saved.
If I’m honest with myself, the constant threat of sight loss scares me. I think about it every day. I often become frustrated with myself because I can’t do the things that many other people take for granted; however, I’m learning that God will take our weaknesses and make them into strengths. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27.)”
I am afraid of a world gone dark. Although I know that people who are blind can still live full and complete lives, I cannot help being afraid. I am only human. I need a redeemer to save me from this broken world because I cannot save myself. I need Christ to save me from my fear and to give my life meaning.
God’s Love Gives Me Hope
According to to Joe Iovino of UMC.org, John Wesley (one of my heroes and spiritual forefathers) wrote that, “Justifying faith implies… a sure trust and confidence that Christ died for ‘my’ sins, that he loved ‘me,’ and gave himself for ‘me.’”
Many times, it is the human element of my story that people resonate with the most. I feel God’s powerful call to share about the love of Jesus. I need to tell the world what Christ has done for me.
Because of the love of God, I do not have to fear the darkness encroaching on the edge of my vision. Because of the grace of Christ, I am saved from my own fear, loathing, and self doubt.
Because Christ died for me, I know that I am blessed with an abundant life, even if I lose my sight.
My faith in God reminds me that, “we walk by faith and not by sight.”
(2 Corinthians 5:7)
My goal is to see as much of the world as possible before my sight grows completely dim. That is why Jeff and I make a point to travel as much as possible, even if it is only a day trip. We love to play at being local tourists and travel all over the state.
I am grateful for every day of vision, but even if I lose my sight entirely, I will continue to travel and explore the world in other ways. I know that people who are blind can love travel just as much as sighted people! We just travel a little differently.
With Christ beside me, I know that I will continue to travel and live a full and complete life. When the road grows dark, I know that he will be “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119.105).”
If you would like to read more about my sight loss journey, Bold Blind Beauty recently published one of my articles .I was very honored to be named me as a, “Woman on the Move.”
Please be sure to check out the other great bloggers involved in the His Encouragement weekly series!