“Space for Grace”

We all know those people who say things like:

“I need my personal space.”

Or, “I have a personal bubble.”

Or (my favorite), ”I was socially distancing before the pandemic.”

 

That’s me. I’m “people.”

I admit it. I like my space.

When I’m at home, in my space, I don’t mind kids, dogs or cats (or oftentimes chickens) in my lap, or in my space.

On the rare occasion that I spend time with friends…intentionally…because I want to…on purpose…I don’t mind being around people or having them in my space, or being in theirs.

I have a creative space…when I’m painting or writing or studying, I generally love that quiet, uninhabited space.

But my work space…I really like my work space. I prefer my professional space to be uncluttered with people if I’m busy. I mean, I’m a mom. I can multi-task. It isn’t necessarily an issue of annoyance, it’s an issue of unbridled productivity.

My office is my professional sanctuary. Most of the time it’s just me and my fish Seamus, doing our best work and living our best lives. (Seamus is a great listener, but not such a great conversationalist, which works well for me.) I have honeysuckle wax cubes simmering and soft jazz or worship music playing in the background. It’s an environment wherein I do my best work. It’s private and calming and conducive to good work.

My office is the only office in my building. If people come into the building where my office is located, they’re there for a reason.

Tuesday, I was deeply involved in a project when I heard the jingling of keys outside my office door. I cringed. I knew what that meant…distraction.

One of my security guards turned the key and let himself into my office. (Side note: I do not travel with a security detail…I’m a security director, so they come with the job.)

When he entered my office, not looking up from my work, I snapped, “Doesn’t anybody knock anymore?”

Matter-of-factly he replied, “I don’t need to knock…I have a key.”

I took off my glasses and closed my laptop, prepared to make him feel the weight of the distraction he’d caused me, and he sat down in the chair across from my desk and said, “I need to talk to you.” It was then that I realized the inappropriateness of my clipped response. My employee, but most importantly my friend, was having a problem and needed me. Not an everyday work gripe, not complaining about a business matter, but a problem. I was instantly convicted by my graceless behavior.

I instantly thought of our immediate, all-the-time access to The Father. The “OPEN” sign is always on with God.

Let me say this…I am in no way comparing myself to God. I am a weak human, flawed and entirely insignificant by comparison. What I am doing is holding myself accountable for my response and embracing a new self-awareness of my lack of availability to my fellow humans. I was embarrassed by my abrupt and unwelcoming demeanor, and while I listened to the problems of my friend, I felt more and more convicted about my general inability to be present when I am needed by others to be present. To listen, to be available, to be in the moment with them when they need it. Sometimes I just feel too “busy”. I think sometimes we all do.

God is busy. He is truly, truly busy. Every second of every day, He’s busy healing bodies, touching hearts, saving souls, changing lives. Real work. Yet He always has time for us. Whether it’s curing that disease, healing that hurt, mending that fence, or doing something comparatively unimportant like helping us find our car keys on a frantic Monday morning…there is no request that we bring to God that He doesn’t hear, the moment we cry out.

“I don’t need to knock…I have a key.”

Praise God that we don’t need an appointment to have a word with Him, that we don’t have to schedule time with Him to talk about our problems. He doesn’t “pencil us in”. He is immediately available to us when we need Him. He’s available when we just want to praise Him. Not only is God omnipresent, He is ALWAYS present. Not only is He everywhere, He’s everywhere all the time.

Jesus is the key to our availability to God. He goes before us, is our Advocate and our Intercessor, and through His death BECAME the key. The veil was torn so that we would have access to The Father, all the time. In our times of worry and sadness or joy and thanksgiving…Jesus is our key to The Father.

The veil of the Temple separated the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant, the early dwelling place of God’s earthly presence, from the rest of the Temple. Only the High Priest was allowed to enter that space, which he did only once each year, on the Day of Atonement. On that day, the High Priest would make intercession for sin on behalf of the people.

The veil represented the separation between God and man…a separation caused by sin. At the time of Christ’s death, that separation was removed, and all mankind could forevermore have direct access to God the Father, which was symbolized by the tearing of the veil.

Matthew 27: 50-51 says: “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”

It was Christ’s sacrifice that removed the veil, brought down the barrier between us and The Father. Jesus became the key.

I challenge all of us to remember that God is never too busy, never too far off to hear our cries, or to receive our praise. It is our responsibility as Christians to strive to be Christ-like in our walk, displayed in our behavior and evident in our interactions with others. We are charged with letting God’s light shine through us, that we may allow others to see Christ in us, that they may desire the same peace and promise that we have in Him.

While we all have our own brands of personal space, let’s remember to leave space for grace. The same grace we are afforded by way of our access to The Father, we should freely extend to others. In today’s tumultuous political, social, and even sometimes professional climate, it is not only our duty, but an honor, to show others the same grace that The Father shows us.


2 Responses to ““Space for Grace””

  1. Tami Sark says:

    Wow! I really needed this today! Thank you so much!

    • Mandy Merrill says:

      So glad you enjoyed the devotion. Aimee does a wonderful job and has a way of relaying the message from the Lord in great detail! Thanks for the feedback. 🙂

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