For the last five months, work has been intense.
Let me repeat that: For the last five months, work has been intense.
It’s the kind of intensity that births bone weariness, to the point where you often feel like you’re walking in thick fog. Days ran together, one long slide of stuff.
Nothing’s changed lately. Still the same stuff.
And then I started reading The Grace of God by Andy Stanley. It’s the subject of the book discussion led by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter. We’ve been tackling a chapter a week. Last week, the chapter was about the story of Nicodemus, and I moved in a different direction, writing a fictional account of what Nicodemus might have been like, and what he might have done. I’m not sure why I did that, but that’s what came from the reading.
This week, in the chapter entitled “Filled by Grace,” Stanley discusses the Samaritan woman at the well. And what he said at the outset flipped my “on” switches. Jesus just didn’t happen to pass through Samaria on the way from Judea to Galilee. Yes, it was the most direct route, but no self-respecting Jew would “pass through” Samaria. Jews and Samaritans weren’t exactly the best of friends; for a Jew headed to Galilee, it would always be a detour around Samaria.
But the account in the gospel of St. John plainly says that Jesus “had” to go through Samaria. The disciples, familiar by now with his occasionally odd behavior, didn’t question the route but simply followed along.
It stuck with me and wouldn’t let go. Jesus “had” to go through Samaria, the geography the Jews thought of as ugly and unclean, its people heretics. But that was where he had to go.
Sometimes, and perhaps a lot more often that we would care to, we have to go through difficult periods or circumstances. We pray for relief or deliverance or change. And sometimes those things happen. But often they don’t.
The question we have to ask ourselves, the question I had to ask myself, was whether God’s grace is sufficient.
I’d like to believe there is a grand purpose for going through this period of work, that great things will result, good things will happen and I’ll be able to see the reason once it’s over.
But the lesson may be far simpler, and far less momentous. It may be something as simple as teaching me the sufficiency of grace.
And so I ask myself again, if grace sufficient? What if the “reason” for this period never becomes apparent? Is grace enough?
As I read Stanley’s words, I realized that grace was indeed sufficient.
It’s enough. Grace is sufficient to sustain.
To see more posts on this chapter, please visit Jason Stasyszen at Connecting to Impact.
Photograph by George Hodan via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.