(Note: This article is adapted from Rescuing Wayward Children. Follow this link to learn more. It is Part 3 of the series “Unparalleled Blessings from Working with a Wayward Child.”)
The universal conclusion reached by all parents of wayward children is the task is beyond them. Only God can do the work of redemption, so to partner with Him in this work, we must receive His grace. It is the gift of grace that qualifies us for the work. In the last two articles http://www.meridianmagazine.com/author/17 in this series, we discussed the gifts of weakness, redemption, experience, and joy. This week, we will discuss the gift of grace.
The Gift of Grace—Being Yoked with Christ
Heavenly Father programmed the experience of mortality to be one of continual lacking. Our resources and abilities seldom equal what is required of us. Thus, to cope and progress, we find ourselves in a constant state of needing help from a higher, stronger source. We cannot change this reality of mortality. Once we admit that we will never have enough and that we will always need help, we are in a position to humbly come to the one abundant Source, praying that He will make up the difference.
We usually experience grace when we are at the end of our rope. One mother of three discovered grace this way:
My husband and I made a decision to go back to church. Then our world fell apart. I’ve heard that this is normal. Suddenly, our marriage seemed under attack—critical remarks, misunderstandings. I spent a couple of weeks crying. Then our finances plummeted when we couldn’t sell a second house in a timely manner. And the worst thing of all was our son’s dropping out of school because of alcohol and drugs.
I have dabbled with church activity for years, but I have never been too committed. Until recently, my husband has never been interested at all. But a friend had talked to me about the Savior’s love and willingness to help. “Prayer and scripture study bring a power into your life,” my friend said. It all sounded too simplistic, something that Mormons are taught to say in Primary. But I needed real help—and now! [So], as a last resort I decided one night to take my friend’s advice [and] read a chapter in the Book of Mormon, then pray. What did I have to lose?
Nothing, I was to find out; in fact, I had everything to gain. While I read the Book of Mormon, it was as though light was shining from the pages. That gave me confidence. I knelt in prayer and poured out my soul for help. I told the Lord that any one of my problems was too great to handle, and I was dealing with three huge ones. Soon, I felt a quiet prompting to hand over my problems to God. I felt a little strange, as though I were in a meeting for Alcoholics Anonymous. Nevertheless, I followed the prompting and asked God to please help carry my problems and deal with them—I couldn’t handle them anymore.
Then sweetly and tenderly, I felt something, like a hand, that had reached down and lifted my problems off my shoulders. I had the distinct feeling that I had a Partner now. Is this what grace was all about? Is this what I had been missing all these years? It was so simple that I had missed it. I had always thought that the definition of a responsible adult was being strong and independent—not asking anyone for anything. What a Satanic lie that is!
For the last two weeks, as the storm has raged around me, I have been at peace. I do what I can do and daily hand the rest to my Partner. And He always takes it. By the way, we received an offer on our house the morning after I prayed.
God Can Take Care Of Us
One of the great discoveries of mortality is that God can take care of us. When we humbly come to him, expressing our weakness and our need for His help, He proffers us His grace. According to the LDS Bible Dictionary, grace is
Divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ…. [To] receive strength and assistance to do good works that [we] otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to [our] own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.
Divine grace is needed by every soul in consequence of the fall of Adam and also because of man’s weaknesses and shortcomings. However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient.[i]
Here, then, is a formula for receiving grace: We come unto Christ in humility and faith, we do all we can do,[ii] and He will make up the difference. And we will never be found lacking.
Rehearsing God’s abundant grace to the wandering Israelites, the prophet Nehemiah taught,
This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations;
Yet thou [the Lord] in thy manifold mercies forsookest them [Israelites] not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go.
Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.
Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not.[iii]
The Lord never forsook them. He was with them both day and night. He constantly instructed them. He provided manna and water to sustain them. For four decades of wandering, they lacked nothing.
Amazingly, neither their clothing nor their shoes wore out. The Israelites experienced the Lord’s grace.
At the end of
If Any of you Lack Anything!
James, the Lord’s brother, gave the solution for those of us who want: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.”[v] Personalized, this scripture could read: “If any person lacks anything, let him ask of God, that will give to that person abundantly, and will never chastise him for asking for the Lord’s grace, and that grace shall be given him.” This is a promise!
Grace allows our lack to be swallowed up in God’s abundance: We come unto Christ in humility and faith, we do all we can do, and he will make up the difference.