How to Get Through Snowmaggedon & Everything Else that’s Burying You

‘Look, the only guys that watch the radar like this are the guys who fly.”

“And the guys who farm.”

Yeah, okay, I’ll give you that — I nudge him — farmers and the flying guys always watching the sky.

The Farmer sitting there in his worn-out Wranglers and tattered t-shirt looks up from The Weather Network and that radar swirling across the screen like a snow windmill.

“Looks like more’s coming.”

Yeah, always more coming. What are they calling this? Snowmaggedon?

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I slop up some cesspool from the bottom of the fridge, reciting it to myself: full of grace and truth, verse 14.

Then this week’s verse, there’s the crescendo: “And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” — gift upon gift.

Flip over the laundry. Sure, John could have written, rightly, that we’ve all received “truth upon truth.” But what he writes isn’t that. What he writes is the scandalous: “grace upon grace.”  Grace gets the emphasis.

John would go on to write truth or a derivative thereof a total of 55 times in his Gospel. There is never a minimizing of truth.

But the thing is: If truth isn’t full of grace —- it was never truth in the first place.

If truth isn’t formed by grace — then it forms into an untruth.

Grace gets the emphasis.

Boys bicker. Fingers point. Teenagers huff and puff like wolves about to blow some hog house down. Tensions over what happened, when, to whom, what is the truth, have me tauter than some fence wire strung up for a bull.

Grace gets the emphasis.

It’s the last time John writes the word grace in the gospel of John, there in verse 16. Why not ink the truth of more grace?

The actual Greek of verse 16 is  χαριν αντι χαριτος (ka-riv anti kar-i’-tos)… Grace anti grace.  The word anti is a Greek preposition with several meanings, but scholars generally believe that the truest rendering is upon.  Because He was full of grace and truth, from Him we all received grace upon grace, grace on top of grace, one gift stacked on another gift.

That’s what The Amplified Version reads: “gift [heaped] upon gift.

There’s more than 3 feet snow down the back walkway to the barn. John didn’t have to write much more about grace because he wrote the last word on grace: that it would always keep relentlessly coming —- Grace heaped upon grace. Gift heaped upon gift Always more coming.

No matter what is on the radar — there’s always more grace coming.

The spruce trees hold their limbs out for more of what’s coming.

I stir sauce on the stove, stare long out the window, snow falling on cedars. Think about what it means to wear grace.

“There is no more wonderful word than grace,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones, the great British Bible teacher, said: “It is not merely a free gift, but a free gift to those who deserve the exact opposite.”

Mercy is about not getting; Mercy is God not giving us what we deserve.

Grace is about getting; Grace is God giving us gifts, exactly what we don’t deserve.

Grace isn’t merely a free gift to the good enough — it’s a free gift to those who don’t deserve any gift at all.

Is there a verse anywhere in the Bible like this? To write over the to-do lists and the too-late-darn-it-all-already-messed-that-up lists, words to stick to the fridge, write on the walls, right up your arm:

Because He was full of grace and truth —— from Him we all received one gift after another.

So that is why Paul says, “His grace is sufficient for us.

This isn’t Snowmageddon — this is Graceageddon.

Graceageddon. It won’t stop coming, covering your mistakes, covering you in love. There’s got to be more than 5 feet out there in the orchard?

Jesus can save you single-handedly. So rest your weary hands in His.

You can believe in grace a lot — but you only start living when you believe in grace alone.

You don’t have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps — you just have to let Jesus draw close.

The snow’s quiet. Everything hushing now. You can feel that drawing close.

The kids are out there somewhere in all this white. Probably that guy named Simon’s out there somewhere too.

That guy who just walks in the snow. Walks miles in the grace that keeps coming down. He goes in circles. Yeah, do I get that.

He makes art. What we all do.

Simon lets his feet make art with every step. Just in the canvas of grace right in front of him.

Sometimes your art will only be seen from the sky, from the perspective of heaven.

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The wind will come. Simon’s art will be blown away. Simon knows this.

He still makes art with everyday fallen grace. Simon still creates art knowing it could be gone the very next day.

Then why bother?

Because there will more grace given tomorrow. For more. Always more coming.

There will be more meals to cook tomorrow. More dishes, more laundry. You’re going to have pick up coats and boots and papers and books all over again tomorrow. You can still make art with everyday fallen grace. You can still create art knowing it’ll be gone the very next day. Because there will more grace given tomorrow. To make more. Always more grace coming.

Grace upon grace. And for all the mistakes.

We’re all living in Graceaggedon.

Christ is this endless front of grace —- enough grace for every screaming mother and every addicted father, enough grace for every using teenager and every abusing past and every useless day.

And it won’t stop coming: enough grace for all the raging five-year olds and all the regretting 70 year olds and all the cheaters and speeders and deceivers and for all of us who are all of that.

Enough grace for loving the kid who makes you want to throttle yourself, enough grace for the road that stretches out relentlessly in front of you, enough grace for every temptation, every testing, every trial — and then more will just keep on coming.

Grace is the front that just keeps coming. Grace gets the emphasis.

I exhale.

Christianity isn’t about good people taking vitamins to be even better.
It’s good news for bad people who are sick and tired of failing to get better.

We get grace! Gift upon gift, grace upon grace, covering mistakes — a daily canvas to make art that is always seen from heaven — art. that. is. eternal.

Grace is the only relief that never stops coming for you. Grace is the only love that will come through anything for you and has nothing to do with you do. Grace keeps falling to catch the falling.

You can see it out the window, you and the farmers and the guys watching the sky— how the snow keeps keeps coming straight down.

That’s what all this is: Graceageddon. Grace is one-way love that just keeps coming.

Flakes fall, down of angel wings.

You can feel that in the midst of any storm, snow soundlessly falling.

Grace is weightless. Even here, you could fly.

 

 

 

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Bible Study for the Rest of Us: Every Wednesday in 2014, Lord willing, we’ll unpack that wk’s #TheJesusProject memory verse from the book of John:  Scripture Memorization for the Rest of Us

Next Wednesday, we are memorizing and unpacking the 5th verse of #TheJesusProject: “Do Whatever He Tells You.” John 2:5

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Related:

1. Print Out all #TheJesusProject Memory Prints from the book of John here: Scripture Memorization for the Rest of Us: #TheJesus Project
2. Week 1 of #TheJesusProject’s Study: The #1 Organizing Tip Nobody Tells You
3. Week 2 : How to Get Through the Dark Places: #PullACliffYoung
4. Week 3  How to Live When Life Just Hurts
5. .My own stumbling way of living “gift upon gift.”
( because someone asked? Malakai’s happily ridiculous cow hat )

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