Plea for Grace – February 28, 2023

Mat 20:1-15 ESV - 1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and to them he said, 'You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.' 5 So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, 'Why do you stand here idle all day?' 7 They said to him, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You go into the vineyard too.' 8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.' 9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 12 saying, 'These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.' 13 But he replied to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?'
This parable has been on my mind for a couple of days now. As familiar as this parable may be, v. 15 never ceases to bring me to my knees . . .
Fact: I belong to God. He saved me. He is my Lord. I am His child.
Fact: God is sovereign over all. Every breath taken, every second this entire universe exists is because God makes it so. He "upholds all things by the word of his power . . ." (Hebrews 1)
But the enemy's darts still come -- how come you get a progressive disease, and others get better? You must be less worthy . . .it's just not fair . . .
These 'darts' are more prevalent when there is a lot going on in my life. We are in the midst of a move (same town, just different house that will be more suitable) and though my husband has insisted that I do very little I still 'feel' like I should be doing more. I 'feel' the loss of independence more keenly. I 'feel' the loss of usefulness. . .I know this is temporary; I know that these 'darts' at my feelings are intentional. 

1 Peter 5:6-11 ESV - 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

And so I repent of my discontent. I repent of my envy of others' health and begrudging the mercy God has shown others. I repent of demanding that God conform to my will rather than my humbly and gratefully submitting to His will. God has been and is incredibly merciful to me. I know that. I am so grateful that I have some time ago settled the fact that my feelings will lie to me; they cannot be trusted. God's Word is my only anchor. God put in me the desire to memorize His Word, and, despite the physical difficulties He has preserved His Word in my brain! (Note: I now have to write down passwords and other 'trivial' things that used to stay in my head with ease; but God still brings His Word back to me when I need to stand against the 'darts'). God hears my "pleas for grace" and He does not reject me because I have been here before . . . in fact, the writer of Hebrews reminds us to confidently draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (chapter 4). 

I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.
I need Thee, O I need Thee,
Every hour I need Thee.
O bless me now my Savior, I come to Thee.
--Annie S. Hawks (1836-1918)

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