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Unwanted grace


Just received this prayer letter from another mish friend who has cancer.

John and I have watched the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy again in recent weeks. One scene had special meaning to us. Frodo tells Gandalf, “I wish the ring had never come to me; I wish none of this had happened.” Gandalf replies, “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide; all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” We are experiencing abundant “unwanted grace” in the midst of our circumstances! By the term “unwanted grace,” (thanks to our friend and coach Bill Lawrence), we mean the grace God gives as part of His call.

Well, I looked up and found a sermon by this title by Dr. William Lawrence on Jonah 1:1-3. Thanks to Lynn for sharing this with us during her battle with cancer. For the complete sermon outline

Unwanted grace is God’s unrelenting call for us

· to take greater risk than we ever imagined

· to face stronger forces than we ever dreamed

· to fight bigger battles than we ever thought possible

· and nearly all of this is in ourselves!

We must face the greatest enemy of all: ourselves.

Why does God bring unwanted grace in our lives?

Because of what unwanted grace always means in our lives.

Unwanted grace always means death:

· the death of pride

· the death of self-confidence

· the death of self-reliance

· the death of false hope

Unwanted grace: the opportunity to become more than we ever dreamed we could become by becoming less than we ever thought we could.

Conclusion

Unwanted grace always brings us to one simple choice: the choice to be Jonah or Jesus.

All of us can be Jonah; there’s nothing hard about running away from what we don’t want. Unwanted grace always leads us to where Jesus went.

Nevertheless, not my will, but yours.

Unwanted grace always leads us to the cross—the decision to take up the cross, to follow Jesus to the grace we need to trust God for resurrection so we can become the men and women God wants us to be. If we resist this we will remain small, caught up in our self-centered and unresponsive hearts, thinking we have a corner on salvation, given over to pleasure and selfish ambition and a life-style of comfort and ease. We will be Jonahs: brittle, demanding, angry, self-centered, and unresponsive. But if we respond to God we will discover what unwanted grace really is:

Unwanted grace: the opportunity to become more than we ever dreamed we could become by becoming less than we ever thought we could.

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