Recently I had an intriguing conversation with a friend. We were talking about struggle, and how with struggle there is also an outpouring of grace.
She said something to this effect: “Ah grace!…I’m clawing at it!”
Can’t we all identify with that experience?! Since this conversation, I’ve been ruminating on the word “clawing” and how it vividly connotes desperate longing!
What is it that leads us to claw at grace? A bad day, the death of a loved one, a misunderstanding, emotional ups and downs, dryness in prayer, loneliness, limitations, money troubles, etc., etc., etc.
Right there in the midst of struggle’s storm, often we find two seemingly opposing realities: our need and our inability to provide for this need.
Between need and fulfillment/resolution, there is a vital bridge, namely God’s grace (and to take it a step further the bridge becomes the fulfillment!).
Clawing at grace is like clawing at water. Ugh! – We can’t sink our nails into it; we can’t control it; we can’t earn it; and we can’t fabricate it. In fact, it is God’s gift to us.
So a decision lies before us:
1.) Recognize our poverty and our weakness, humbly ask the Father for our needs, and receive His good gifts (because we are SURE that He will give what is best)
2.) Or futilely claw our way through life, demanding our will with a mixed sense of entitlement and the need to earn, as well as the desire to control, a feeling of desperation, and cyclic frustration
So let’s boil it down:
- Clawing puts the onus upon the claw-er (you and me)…upon the one who is desperate, upon the one who feels helpless, upon the one who is all need.
- Receiving puts the onus upon the giver (God)…upon the One Who is Omnipotent, upon the One Who is able to save, upon the One who is able to gift.
We ought to note, though – with a ray of sunshine – that both clawing and receiving begin with a good desire. It’s just how that desire is fulfilled that is the difference.
Clawing at grace…we all do it. But perhaps Lent is the perfect time to be declawed! After all we don’t need to hunt for our sustenance. The Father will provide for us…if only we are vulnerable enough to receive like a little child…for then “a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap” (Luke 6:38).
Then we can be sure, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that this grace we receive will be perfectly suited to our need.