This year we want to focus on who God is. Each month we will concentrate on a different attribute of God, and we’ll have one of our authors share what the attribute has taught her about Him. Plus you’ll find pretty free art downloads at the end of each post! We pray this series draws us closer to God as we meditate on who He is. Angela Thomas-Pharr continues the series with some thoughts on God’s graciousness.
“Sorry, guys, I’ve gotta go. I really need to be alone with God and get in the Word.”
At the time, I was a college freshman and Jesus-follower, but I’d never heard anyone say they needed to be alone with God and His Word. Maybe someone had said it before, but this person spoke with something that sounded like desperation in her voice. I’d never heard anyone say they needed God like that.
A bunch of college kids were serving a high school ministry in a town close by. I was part of the college team. The weekend schedule had been exhausting, the high school kids had been exasperating, and by the end of the conference our team was stretched pretty thin. Before we headed back to our schools, we sat together and tried to talk through some of the hard stuff. But we were all tired and nothing really productive was happening. Then one girl piped up, “Sorry, guys, I’ve gotta go. I really need to be alone with God and get in the Word.”
I remember thinking, What in the world does she mean? We had been with God all weekend. We’d been in His Word. We’d been ministering His Word, teaching and leading small groups of kids in study and prayer. Goodness, lots of students even became followers of Jesus that weekend. What was she talking about? Being with God? Getting in the Word? And what was that urgent, longing sound in her voice?
Has someone ever said something so powerful, it felt like their words came marching in the room, looked you straight in the eye, grabbed you by both collars, and then gave you a good, firm shake?
Those words shook my soul that day.
Then they sent me hunting for whatever that girl was talking about. And eventually, those words changed me forever.
That day our tired little group needed the one thing we could not produce for ourselves. Each one of us needed the grace of God. My new friend knew the only place to find it was in His presence and in His Word. All I can remember from that weekend is learning I wanted to know God like she did. I wanted to be codependent and needy and desperate to be with the God of grace.
The psalms declare the glory of God’s grace,
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Psalm 103:8
The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Psalm 145:8
Because God is gracious, we are the recipients of His compassion and steadfast love.
He accepts us while we are yet sinners. He redeems us by His forgiveness and keeps redeeming us through His faithful presence and power.
I love this phrase in James 4:6, “But He gives more grace.”
The passage continues,
Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:6-8
All these years later, I now understand what it means to long for the grace of God; to feel so desperate over my circumstances or the confusion of this world that I need to be in the presence of God and His Word.
Whether it’s a small group of squabbling college students or the personal battle to think of others more highly than ourselves, God’s grace means He is faithful to meet us with His wisdom. Maybe you know God saves you by His grace, but do you know He wants to give you even more grace?
More grace for this day. And those people. And your own dumb choices. And the decision you are facing. And your dry soul. And your weary heart. Because He is gracious, God also gives us the path to His grace:
Resist the devil and your own selfish ideas.
Draw near to God.
And the God of grace will draw near to you.
God is gracious and oh, how I pray we desperately need Him today.
Angela Thomas-Pharr is a Bible teacher, national speaker, and best-selling author of books and Bible studies for women. Her determination to know God on an intimate level and her dedication to studying the Bible have taught her many truths – some discovered through tears and some in times of joy. Angela transparently shares life experiences that draw her and others into a deeper passion for knowing God.
We have provided free art for you to help you keep God’s holiness in your focus this month. Just click on the links below to download. We’d love to know what God is teaching you this year—share on social media with the hashtag #GodIs2017.