The Gracious Crucible

On the radio today, I heard a story that reminded me of a previous post I made discussing the differences between law-based living and grace-based living.  A single mother of one young son suddenly became both homeless and unemployed, and they were forced to live in their car.

However, instead of becoming angry at God or even doubting His will, she was thankful for the situation and proclaimed her implicit trust in His divine will.  This awe-inspiring story provided a glimpse of a faith-defining experience for her and her son–their crucible. 

I cannot help but applaud her for viewing this experience for what it was–a demonstration by God of His all-encompassing grace.  In fact, many people would not have the spiritual maturity to recognize this demonstration, let alone be grateful for it.  We all have that one crucible that defines our moral and spiritual character, and this experience was hers.

To people who lean more towards law-based living, this experience would have been detrimental because they feel obligated to live their lives based on a materialistic set of values or conditions, such as prosperity and power.  If they don’t live in a huge house or drive a Mercedes, they view themselves as unsuccessful.  As a result, when they encounter situations such as hers, most implode into self-destructive behavior patterns, instead of turning towards the grace of God.

In contrast, people that lean more towards grace-based living tend to be more resilient in the face of adversity.  They tend to emerge from crucibles with stronger faith and character than ever before, and they view them as growth experiences.

With this in mind, the question now becomes:  in what direction do you lean when your crucible presents itself?  Ultimately, we should all lean towards grace-based living as followers of Christ, knowing full well the following declaration:

“…but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”  Romans 5:3-5, NKJV

With this in mind, as we lean more towards grace-based living, we will emerge from our crucibles with the one thing that sets us apart from everyone else:  HOPE.  Glory be to God!


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