Giving Grace and Calling Higher

 

Last week we talked about how giving grace to the people and situations around us can have untold benefits: benefits of peace in our own hearts, benefits of allowing people grow into the reality that God has for them.

Cliffs above Lake Agnes in State Forest State Park, Colorado

Cliffs above Lake Agnes in State Forest State Park, Colorado

Giving grace is the first part of the story, but there is more.  Sometimes giving grace allows people to grow.  Other times, giving grace but no challenge allows people to stay stagnant rather than grow as God intended.

Spring at Bridalveil Falls, South Dakota

Spring at Bridalveil Falls, South Dakota

For example, let’s say that you have a daughter who is a capable hiker and who loves the outdoors (no worries, I’m not thinking of any specific person here).  When she is young, you don’t make her take long hikes – she’s not capable.  You give her grace to be who she is at this stage in her life – a young child with limited stamina.

Off to find some petroglyphs along the Old Maverick Road in Big Bend National Park, Texas

Off to find some petroglyphs along the Old Maverick Road in Big Bend National Park, Texas

As she grows into a tween, however, her abilities should be growing.  But let’s pretend that she doesn’t believe she can hike more than a couple miles.  You can continue to extend the same grace to her that you extended when she was two, but this will mean that she will stay stagnant in her belief and her growth (stamina) in hiking.  To, more or less, help her to continue to live in her self-made limitations and lies.

Slot canyons aren't for the faint of heart.  Peek-a-boo, formally in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Slot canyons aren’t for the faint of heart. Peek-a-boo, formally in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

There is a time and a place to call people higher than even their own expectations – by calling them into a higher grace.  You’re still going to extend grace to her, but it’s time to call her higher.  God created her to be able to hike four miles, at least, and you can help her get over her fears and burst into that reality.  You’re not going to control or manipulate her into it.  You’re not going to force her to become what she has no intention of ever becoming.  You’re calling her higher because you can see in her something that she is currently blind to seeing.

Cedar Ridge along the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Cedar Ridge along the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

During this process, grace is essential, because it may be very difficult to get through the block or (depending on the situation) lethargy that they are very comfortable living in.  It may look pretty messy for a while, and messes require extreme grace.

Hoodoos and long shadows in the Bisti Wilderness, New Mexico

Hoodoos and long shadows in the Bisti Wilderness, New Mexico

We see this in the Bible in the life of Gideon – when God called Gideon higher, Gideon denied it.  God greeted him, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12).  To which Gideon flat out said (more or less), “Who are you talking to?  Because I am definitely not a mighty warrior.”  He had a mental block against where God was calling him to go, who God knew he was.  But God showed him grace.  He gave Gideon a task that would show him he was more capable than he thought (Judges 6:25-27).  Then God gave him multiple miraculous signs that he would succeed, all the way to the enemy having a dream that Gideon was going to come and crush them (Judges 7:9-15).

Wildflowers along the Lakes Trail in the Medicine Bow Range, Wyoming

Wildflowers along the Lakes Trail in the Medicine Bow Range, Wyoming

God gives us grace, but He calls us higher.  It’s one of the things I find when I slow down in the wilderness: He is always calling me higher.  Maybe not physically, but into Himself.  He always has grace for us as we grow into the new place that God sees as our reality – because He sees us as we are, and not as we see ourselves.