Radical Grace and Chronic Disease

radical-grace2What is radical grace? Jackie shares how acknowledging it will change our lives.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. . . Today this scripture [Isaiah 61] is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:18-20).

There are times that our chronic disease may seem, at least fleetingly, to be a curse. Some may even wonder if God is punishing them or wants to teach them a punitive lesson. I read something so interesting by a favorite writer of mine, Richard Rohr, on Luke 4:18-20 compared to Isaiah 61:1-2.

Both texts say the same thing with one significant difference–Isaiah adds “to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God. . .”

What is amazing is that Jesus omits this part for He didn’t come to proclaim vengeance. He came to be our Savior, Redeemer from sin, Healer, Comforter, and Lord. To Him God was Abba, the one who loves us with a radical grace, overflowing and abundant, not a radical vengeance.

We may never understand why we are afflicted with a chronic disease. Certainly God didn’t cause it. But, oh, how many times He has used it in my life for good. I’ve learned that inadvertently I have to cancel plans and, lo and behold, the world keeps going on.

I’m not indispensable as much as I’d like to think I am. On bad days I can spend all day with my husband who has frontotemporal dementia and just watch favorite TV shows together. That is so special to him and to me, even though I feel lousy. I don’t have to cook dinner! I’ve learned to hold things loosely for I may not be able to do them.

Perhaps the more radical our need, the more radical the grace will be . . . grace of acceptance, grace of empathy towards others, grace towards ourselves. Vengeance is something that some people think is well-deserved while radical grace is favor undeserved.

Rest in that and soak in His smile upon you this day. What a wondrous God we have.

Prayer: Oh Lord, we can never thank You enough for the radical grace that changes lives radically! You didn’t come to bring vengeance, but an olive branch. Your exquisite gift of Your presence surrounds us like a cloud. We wait upon You and know that grace and peace is forever close. Amen.

About the author:
Jackie Smith lives in Knoxville, TN near the beautiful Smoky Mountains. She has Sjogren’s disease and migraine headaches. Jackie had a bilateral mastectomy over 25 years ago. A few years ago she had her colon removed, necessitating a permanent ileostomy. She has her master’s degree in Child and Family Services. Between her and her husband of 35 years they enjoy 5 children and 12 grandchildren. Jackie loves sharing through her writing the rich experiences God has lavished upon her.

What are examples of radical grace in your life today?

This is “Hope To Carry On” with Caedman’s Call. Those of us who live with daily chronic pain face some of the most difficult challenges–both the logistics and also the challenges of faith. We aren’t meant to have all the answers… just the faith to hang on one more day. Blessings, Lisa

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