I was always asking God for His everlasting grace, thinking I would then put more faith in Him… but instead of grace, I just got frustration.
“I need Your grace!” I would say, but it seemed like my prayer wasn’t getting much farther than the ceiling. I was getting upset with God (even though I wouldn’t admit it). I started to believe the lie that “God doesn’t hear my prayers.” Or, at least, “He doesn’t care to answer them.” On top of that, I had been asking Him to show me miracles, but I just wasn’t seeing them. To say the least, I was discouraged.
One day, I was memorizing Ephesians 2:8 where it says “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” I didn’t think much of it. I mean, I had known the concept of this verse for years, or so I thought. So, I just went on with my life, until I came across Luke 17:5-6 which says, “5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. 6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.” Then it hit me. Ouch! The reason I hadn’t been seeing God’s miracles was because I hadn’t put my faith fully in Him. I had it completely backwards! Here I was, asking God to do a miracle in my life, thinking it would result in an increase in my faith, and wondering why it wasn’t working. I was begging Him to show me a mighty work, but I was talking too loud to hear what He had to say. He told me to have faith and then He’ll show me a miracle, but not until I would trust Him. I thought that was really neat, but I didn’t yet realize how it related to my predicament with God’s grace.
Later that day, I was reviewing some of Ephesians 2, when God told me to stop at verse 8 and think about it. I thought to myself, “ There’s not much to think about, I know this verse forwards and backwards (not literally); I mean, I’ve heard it for years!” but I paused anyway, and waited for God to tell me something… I waited… and waited… and waited… until finally, I understood! It was like a puzzle just coming together all at once! It was like He told me, “Stephen, just like I can show you miracles, I can give you grace, but I want your faith first. I didn’t say ‘faith through grace’; I said ‘grace THROUGH faith’. You’ve had it backwards this whole time, and you’ve been blaming Me when it doesn’t work out. All you had to do was listen.” I was overjoyed! I found my answer! I asked Him to forgive me for not having faith (and in turn, rejecting His grace), and for neglecting His voice. I felt a burden lifted from me and I felt renewed!
So… are you lacking the grace of God which we all so desperately need? Have faith!
“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.” ~ Mark 11:22