GRACE STIRS THE COURAGE TO BE
In God’s Grace there is no fear, because grace is God’s love manifested as an absolute favor.
Therefore, those who believe that life with God happens in and as grace don’t fear, because the One who declares His unilateral love for us enables us to say, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
This puts an end to all our fears and panic about anything: The fear of living or dying; the fear of the present and its catastrophes and the future and its inevitable apocalypses; the fear of angels or demons and human or invisible powers; the fear of the precipice and the unthinkable heights; the fear of any real or made-up evil creature; the fear of all judgment.
It is because of grace alone that Paul asks, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” and “Who is he that condemns?” And even Nero and Caligula (who lived in Paul’s days) did not frighten Paul as powers or accusers.
Well, for long I had believed that I believed in all of this. However, only from 1998 on did I have the chance to learn to believe, in the face of huge, real opposition.
I used to read, “Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear!” and I believed that I believed in that statement. But when armies besieged me, my heart feared and weakened in hope.
When the day of my greatest despair came, I had to admit to myself that the Psalms I knew had given me hope in times of human trouble, but I still didn’t know them as personal Psalms in the face of the superhuman situations.
At that time, though, I had to get to know the Psalms just like David and the other Psalmists knew them—that is, amidst real armies besieging my home and my life, with all kinds of threats, and grinding their teeth as a sign of their readiness to kill me.
And this is how it happened…
I had to get to know grace in the midst of scorn, disdainful looks, accusations, irony and sarcasm, and all sorts of contempt.
Later I had to know it as grace in the pain of mourning for my son. In addition, thousands of occasions in our daily lives were made of mean, accusatory looks.
Then I learned in practice that grace is better than life because it is bigger than life.
So, I only sought to rejoice in the Love of the Lord for me, in spite of all kinds of loveless expressions from my “brothers”.
The fact is that when grace destroys the power of death for you, a gigantic power to live arises.
In this way, the Way of Grace takes us up to the sky and down to the precipice; to the valleys and the mountains; to plateaus and cliffs; to love and hatred; to plenty and shortage; to good health and illness; to peace and disorder—but it leads you in triumph in all these things.
Then, afterwards, and only afterwards you will have actually learned enough to state, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength!”
After all, in grace there is no loss; there is only the liberation from dead, unnecessary weights, for the Way of Grace in us is a way that leads to a lightness that arises because grace rids our lives from everything that has a dead meaning.
Because of this, when such a conscience is transformed in faith for life, all sorts of fears fade away.
That is why blessed is everyone who believes so and is not afraid of taking the implications on himself/herself.
What I see is that the worst human fear is to trade their fear for trust!
What really happens is that most choose fear to feel safe, believing that if there is fear, cowardice will protect them.
Everything that grace proposes is only materialized by trust that gives itself over to and rests in the Lord’s faithfulness—and this is pure grace!
Grace is only better than life when life is founded on trust in the faithfulness of the all-gracious God.
Do you believe?
If you do, come!
In Him, who has called us to go on fearlessly,
Lago Norte – Brasília
Translated by F. R. Castelo Branco | August 2007
From the original “A GRAÇA GERA CORAGEM DE SER”