13th August 2018

The Rain of Grace

“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild animals will honour me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.”
I
saiah 43:19-21 (NRSVA)

It’s raining. The sound of heavy drops of water falling on my window is very welcome, especially after weeks of hot and humid weather.

The sound is very therapeutic. A Stuart Townend hymn comes to mind: “Pour over me, pour over me, let your rain flood this thirsty soul.”1 This connection between the physical and spiritual, between rain and God’s grace is a very appropriate one for us living in the UK. In Scotland, we can receive so much rain that we don’t really appreciate it. Until, that is, we find ourselves in a period of drought. Then we really miss the rain!

This hymn causes my mind to drift to past events…I had found myself embroiled in the aftershock of events elsewhere, caused by the breakdown of relationships. That, spiritually speaking, felt like a time of drought. The circumstances were so complicated that I couldn’t work out what to pray for. So, I just prayed for God to send his grace to all parties concerned. And in that arid desert of mistrust and anger, grace did come! Like a mighty river bringing water to thirsty land. What still stands out to me is that God did this through an unexpected source; I would never have picked the person He used! But isn’t this always the way with God? He finds routes and ways to provide grace that are always more permanent and satisfying.

The world is a troubled place, so we all look forward to Christ’s return when the spiritual deserts will be banished. But my experience reminds me that God sends moments of grace today; He will provide an oasis to sustain us in difficult times.

Our God is a graceful God—He “sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). In fact, our God has sent more than just rain. Through Jesus, an entire ocean of grace flooded over all of humanity. “Just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mathew 20:28). My small moment of seeing grace in action reminds me of God’s great blessing of reconciliation through Christ.

Back in the present, I rest in this personal moment of a double portion of grace. One is from a breeze flowing from the now-opened window. The other is from the peace flowing from the grace bringing healing to that broken relationship. There is still a long way to go, but the atmosphere is already far better and I should give thanks for that. As Stuart Townend sings at the end of his hymn: “I receive Your peace”.

Prayer
Father, for all of those broken relationships we know of, we ask for your grace on all those who are trapped in hurt, anger or distress. We look for the cool breeze of your peace, as the Spirit brings Your healing into their lives. We give thanks through the One who has made such reconciliation possible: Jesus Christ, Your Son.
Amen

Study by Ian Woodley

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  1. Your love shining like the Sun (Pour over me), by Stuart Townend, 1999.

About the Author:
Ian Woodley is an Elder and Pastoral Council member of the Edinburgh Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, a part of Grace Communion International (Gracecom for short).

Local Congregation:
Gracecom, Edinburgh
Gilmerton New Church
Ravenscroft Street
EDINBURGH
EH17 8QJ

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Mill
Email: peter.mill@gracecom.church

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