Years ago when I was ministering in First Nations’ communities I fell into the habit of modelling many of my conversations after Aesop’s Fables. The way he personified forces in nature in order to demonstrate moral lessons for humans seemed to suit the context very well. I often would tell the story of the competition between Sun and Wind. They were disagreeing about who was more powerful when a they spied a man walking below. The man had a coat wrapped around his shoulders. Sun challenged Wind to see who could disrobe this man as a test of power. Wind confidently took up the challenge and blew a gale upon the poor man, but the harder Wind buffeted the man, the more tightly he clutched his coat. Finally, Sun took a turn and gently shone on the man until the man willingly took off his coat and thus Sun proved his superior power.
We were chatting about one of our favourite topics at Street Hope, God’s grace. We talk about it often because life often reminds us of our utter need for it. We also talked about not trying to use grace as a licence to continue to sin.
Paul talked about his ‘thorn in the flesh’ which was a messenger of Satan, to buffet him and though he sought God to remove it (whatever it was) God assured him that His grace was sufficient.
If when we are ‘buffeted’ we cling all the more tightly to God and his grace we can trust that his grace will suffice for us. Things come our way through our own poor choices or through the fallen nature of this world. These things appear as severe tests perversely designed to drive a wedge between us and God but as we choose to let these circumstances drive us to God rather than away we will find that what may have been intended for evil God can turn to good!
As we struggle with addictions and lifestyles and brokenness we first must recognize our impotence. We are powerless, but when we are weak He can be strong if we choose to be buffeted toward him! The free gift of God though only comes to those who choose to receive it. The grace is not meant to be only forgiveness, though we desperately need that, it is also meant to be our strength so that we can stand in the test that buffeting brings. Actually we can do more than stand we can become ‘more than conquerors’ through Him.
At Street Hope we all struggle to be recipients of grace during the storm rather than after. This requires reprogramming a life time of ‘stinking thinking’! We are choosing to be buffeted closer to Christ.