August 01, 2012

Sustaining grace


hat is “sustaining grace”? This is the question Pastor John Piper posed to his congregation as they celebrated the anniversary of the founding of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The sermon that followed this question is inspiring and motivating, and the poem that served as the introduction has become one of my favorite poems.

Psalms 37:4-5

Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.

Life can be terribly difficult at times. Sometimes we travel through incredibly deep and turbulent waters and the undertow threatens to pull us beneath the surface of the water as we desperately try to reach the shore. During these times we Christians have a loving and faithful God to hold onto. Only he is able to provide the grace to sustain us through these difficult times.

What is sustaining grace?

Not grace to bar what is not bliss
Nor flight from all distress—but this:

The grace that orders our trouble and pain
And then, in the darkness, is there to sustain.

Pastor John Piper, Bethlehem Baptist Church

This is something I often forget—sometimes until after the troubled waters have passed and I look back to see the signs along the way that God was sustaining me the whole way. Perhaps next time I hit those troubled waters I will remember to trust God along the way. He is always faithful.

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