There is No Sledgehammer God
It’s rare to find someone who weaves words real and still finds a way to leave you encouraged.
I’m honored to welcome Jason to My Ink Dance today to remind you of who God is in the everyday real (and how easy it is to forget). You won’t regret a single word.
There is no sledgehammer God — every rational being knows that.
We can appropriate certain things to the Divine; we can justify answered prayer. In some cases, we can even chalk acts up to miracles, speak in tongues, feel a soul empowerment or body transformation.
You know, Holy Spirit stuff. The kinds of things that set Evangelicals, Pentecostals, and Charismatics ablaze with frenzy.
But, most of the time – for me, all of the time – grace is found in subtleties. In the in-between. In times of reflection, way after the fact. Grace is the culmination of the interworking of past events, added and subtracted, assembled and rearranged, formulated into this thing we call life. It’s predicated on the choices we make, the choices that God leads us toward, and the choices made by others. God is the chess master. We are the pawns in His game.
But, that’s cliche. Think about what makes you happy in life. Is it your significant other? Your kids? Your job? Your faith? Now think about how you got there. All the sacrifices you made. All the options you had for each decision you made along the way. How choosing differently might have changed the course of your happiness. That is God being merciful to you, regardless of the trials you may have had en route. That is grace.
Grace is not an easy concept to ascertain. It isn’t superficial. It shapes our cores, not our appearance. It’s meant for postcards, not billboards. It finds its way into the darkest corners of our lives and extends a hand to lead us to light.
It’s meant for loss, not gain.
And therein lies the challenge. Too often we scowl at God for not answering prayer, for our afflictions and illnesses, our vices and plights, the tragedies in the world. Too often we dwell in the murky waters of depression and self- loathing, only to come up for air when glints of hope appear on the surface.
But, grace isn’t found in the glints of hope. Instead, it’s found deep in the cloudy water that envelops, cools, and softens our skin. It’s the molecular change in our cells that readies us for difficult times ahead. It’s a shapeshifter — the hand that molds our clay.We need to stop blaming God for things that we control. We need to start reflecting on the things… Click To Tweet
We need to be cognizant of the little morsels of grace that have been sprinkled over the course of our existence. Morsels both sweet and stale, tiny crumbs at the feet of mountainous disdain.
Grace isn’t just seeing the glass half full, or light in darkness, or faking a superficial smile and saying everything is okay when it isn’t. I’m among the most negative, pessimistic, depressive people you’re likely to meet. My glass is always thirsty for more. But, even I can reflect on past events — wrapping a car around a tree, hitting a deer (it may have been a moose) going 75mph, getting jobs I’ve interviewed for, finding friends after losing them, failing business statistics twice, saving a friend’s life after he nearly drank himself to death, withdrawing life support on fifteen babies and watching them die in their mothers’ arms — and affirm the grace alongside.
Grace prevails. Through joy. Through pain. Through circumstances so unbelievably, inhumanly dire.
If you let it.
If you see it for what it is, when it shows itself.
Grace is everywhere. Our God is loving — of course grace is everywhere. Sadly, though, we either deny it like we do our faults or lose it like a set of keys. We need to start treating it like our wedding rings and cell phones and clutch it at all times. We need to start thinking it a part of ourselves as we do the tattoos on our bodies and piercings in our skin.
We need to allow grace to move us as only it can.
And when we do, we’ll realize that there’s no need for a sledgehammer. We’ll realize that God places mercy silently, carefully, and skillfully in the cracks of our lives, and that grace adheres every last piece of it into a unique mold.
Life. Masterfully crafted. Dizzyingly complex. Satisfyingly whole.
Look between the lines for your grace. You might be saved by what you’ll find.
Jason Ramsey is the Founder/Executive Director of ALTARWORK, a social-publication and community that celebrates Christian writing, music, and art. He is married with five kids, including two sets of twins, and walks the tightrope of family and faith with both eagerness and unease. He is an advocate for religious freedom, mental health awareness, and social equality, and has had work published at Patheos, Venn Magazine, The Mudroom, The Bees Are Dead, and more.
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About Becky Hastings
I am emotional and logical. I am strong and dependent. I am a juxtaposition of head and heart exploring it all through writing. And in all my mixed-up ways I am loved. I'm here to tell you that you are, too. Just the way you are.