Grace to Grow

by Brittney Chan


Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee...

Isaiah 26:3a


I sat under a professor in college who had a particular Latin quote hanging up in his office. “Non scholae sed vitae.” Translated, it means: “We do not learn for school, but for life.” I always felt challenged by this concept that infiltrated his approach to teaching. I found the idea of learning as a life-long pursuit attractive because it allowed room for me to grow and to make mistakes. It also demanded grace from people on the sidelines of my life and that was an environment that I thrived in. Simply put, we learn to create a better version of ourselves and that can happen in a multiplicity of ways.


You probably easily associate learning with formal K through 12th grade education. There’s also higher learning taking place in colleges, universities, and vocational schools across the world. There’s on-the job training...boot camps...conferences...seminars, all loaded with information being passed from one mind to another. But what about the lessons that come from our life experiences that yield wisdom?


You know the ones I’m talking about. Growth happens as we change careers or move to a new location where we don’t know anyone. It happens when our plans fail, our trust is broken, or our loved ones don’t gather around our table anymore. It happens when we are stretched beyond our comfort zones and are forced to respond.


Hey, friend! It matters how we react to the way life obligates us to learn. We make a mistake if we build a home for bitterness or choose to be broken. We can follow the luring of our emotions to pits of depression or valleys of loneliness and be completely oblivious to how our choices affect our loved ones. This is where grace enters the picture.


Learning can get messy sometimes. It isn’t always neatly put together or accompanied with step-by-step instructions. Sometimes we do the wrong thing and have to figure out how to fix it. These are the experiences that give us a new perspective and understanding of God’s grace for us. If He can forget our offenses against Him, how can we remember the offenses of others?


So, how do you survive the growing pains of life? Those experiences you didn’t ask for? Those hurts you didn’t see coming? Isaiah 26:3a says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.” The word “stayed” is “sāmaḵ” in the original Hebrew text and it means “held together by” or “sustained by”. In other words, God can be the glue that holds you together, if you let Him.


The other day, I read that “learning takes place when there’s a purpose.” What if we let knowing God be our life’s purpose?


God,


Thank you for not throwing me away after the first, second, or one thousand one hundred and seventy-second mistake I’ve made. You continually show me new depths of mercy and by this, You reveal more and more of who You are to me. I ask that You teach me how to show that same kind of grace to the people in my life. Teach me how to love them as well as You love me.


In Jesus’s name,

Amen.

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