On Sunday, Tab preached an excellent message from Jonah 2, "Salvation Belongs to the Lord." (You should soon be able to listen to it here.) The two main points were that 1) God hears our cries of distress and 2) God's grace delivers us from our distress. The whole message was encouraging, but I was helped most by part of the second point. Here's a quick summary: We need to apply the truth that salvation belongs to the Lord to our current distress, but we don't always know what that looks like. God could give delivering grace that puts an end to the distress, or he could give sustaining grace that helps us endure through difficulty. No matter what, we who believe have already been given ultimate deliverance from our greatest distress, our sin that merits the wrath of God, through the cross where Christ suffered that distress in our place.
As I have faced the distress of infertility, I have cried out often for delivering grace. I want God to put an end to this trial by blessing us with children soon. While it is not a bad thing to ask for delivering grace, I realized that I have been rejecting any other form of grace as not good enough. God has provided me with plenty of sustaining grace over the past year, but I quickly overlook that. I too often fail to notice God's goodness in strengthening me to endure infertility, in enabling me to battle against sins like jealousy and self-pity and to actually make some progress! Even worse, I minimize the greatness of the ultimate delivering grace of salvation. "So what if I've been saved from my sins," I scoff. "What does it matter that I have an eternal relationship with a loving God, if I can't have a baby?" Okay, I don't actually say those things (maybe I should, so I would be more properly horrified by my unbelief!). But my lack of joy and refusal to be comforted by the gospel in the midst of trial basically says the same thing. The gospel DOES matter; it should put my infertility in perspective and should increase my trust in the Father who did not spare his own Son for me and who will never withhold good from me. Though I may have pretty strong feelings about the kind of grace I want, the Lord will always give me the kind of grace I need.
Note: I would like to start devoting one post a week to reflections on the Sunday message. Hopefully, this will be the first of many!