GodReflection: Is Grace Still Amazing?
Three hours of nothing stretch between the town where I was raised in the Chihuahuan Desert and El Paso, Texas. By automobile, forty minutes after departure, the distance Signal Peak and Guadalupe Mountain Range come into view.
The next forty miles unfolds to reveal an ancient sea floor identified with a road sign that reads Salt Flat. As far as the eye can see the white barren salt landscape prevents vegetation. For the remainder of the trip to El Paso the desert predominates the scenery.
Upon arrival in El Paso there is reprieve. The city provides rest from the desert. Water, lodging, food, and community are found in abundance.
I see the auto trek across the dry Chihuahuan Desert as a lens through which I can relate to God’s revelation of grace across the pages of my Bible.
The sixty-six books in my Bible tell the story of God’s grace revealed to humankind. Like the long trip across the desert, I read through Holy Scripture and in the process cross a lot of flat arid land marked by high celestial peaks that signal signs of riches to be found in God’s gift of grace.
I find the first light of God’s grace on the initial page of my Bible as I read, In the beginning and let there be light. Indescribable grace flows throughout two chapters of the song of creation and reaches the climax in the formation of God’s spirit-filled man and woman.
Satan, then enters the story. Early as Genesis 3:23 we find Adam and Eve in the barren desert of sin. They are locked outside the pristine garden. The walk of humankind across the pages of the Old Testament is a bleak horror show of sin’s power to devastate human life and soul. Just as prevalent is man’s resistance to the love and companionship God extends.
After the first two chapters of Genesis the remainder of the Old Testament is a journey across the desolate salt flats of destruction. Along the way four great peaks emerge in the distance. Each stand high against the horizon.
When I look closely, God’s eternal love shines on the mountain tops. From the four peaks will be revealed bold hints of the grace to come through Jesus.
The first landmark to appear is the Old Testament biggie. Above sin’s floor, a stark mountain peak reveals God’s promise to Abraham: In you all the families of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:3). From its heights the Holy Spirit will illuminate the remainder of the path through Scripture. This peak of promise introduces the greatest and unsurpassed grace act of history. From peak to peak that revelation will move from design to reality.
After Abraham’s life and death, the story line moves the promise a step closer to fulfillment when a second peak comes into view. From Nation Peak shines the light toward the one who will free and lead humanity from Satan and sin’s captivity.
God populates his chosen nation through descendants of Abraham that one day will grow into the Divine design of a population as numerous as “stars of the heavens and grains of sand on the seashores.” This nation of God will cover the world with his grace.
God calls Moses to lead the newly created nation in Exodus from Pharaoh and Egyptian captivity. He is God’s man. Himself an exile and product of wilderness transformation. Moses, a refugee, from his own desert had learned humility of spirit that would allow God’s Holy Spirit to enter and start formative work. He is the sort of person that can be used by The Holy.
In our next post a third peak will appear from the desert floor. But for now, I wonder if we have considered lately just how much God still depends on the growth of personal humility in each of his followers?
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on Grace Peaks Create Amazement