What an amusing question to ask God. I rewound the song. Sure enough, Ben Rector in “Moving Backwards,” had just asked that question.
I think we’ve been there.
Whether we believe in God or not, maybe out of frustration, shame, or desperation, a prayer escapes our lips. Sometimes, we say a prayer with no hope of it being answered, and as a way of protecting ourselves, we wonder…can you hear me?
When we are going through something, it’s hard to wrestle with our prayer being heard, but not being answered. Maybe it makes us feel better to imagine our prayer going unanswered because it wasn’t heard.
This song brought a new perspective on two sermons I had just preached. In preaching these two stories, I had found similarities in how these people saw Jesus. But now, with the song playing through my earbuds, I saw a Jesus who didn’t just challenge their perception of him, but a Jesus who heard what they didn’t say. For everything a person says, sometimes it’s what they don’t say that’s loudest.
We may ask “can you hear me?”
Jesus challenges with “do you see me?”
But if you really pay attention, you realize Jesus doesn’t just challenge your perception, he hears, and responds, to what no one else does.
At this point, the song is on repeat, and as it plays, it brings to mind a scripture. There’s this verse in Isaiah (6:9) where the people are told, “keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.” Between the song lyric and the Bible verse, these two encounters were coming to life in ways I hadn’t perceived before.
Then it hit me.
These two encounters happen constantly. Every day people decide what they want to believe about Jesus. It was at that moment, I knew that these two encounters weren’t just sermons. The dream of a book, this book that you’re reading right now, had begun.
I don’t want you to be the person who heard but didn’t understand. I don’t want you to have seen and not perceived.
When it comes to grace, it’s a mistake that can be easily made because grace is radical. It seems simple, yet has a profound depth. There is nothing like it. Because of its humble appearance, people glance at grace and miss all that is there. But grace is not meant just to be seen. To truly experience grace, we need to encounter it. In that encounter, we come to know just how beautiful and amazing grace truly is.
So what of this radical, simple, deep, humble grace?
What can this grace do?
Why this request for grace?
What changes with grace?
Is grace the remedy?
Who needs this grace?
Is grace enough?
All these questions make me realize that encountering grace is like a dance. There’s a back and forth. A give and take. It’s not forceful. Grace invites. Grace seeks. In fact, encountering grace is as much about you as it is about grace.
Grace challenges perception.
Grace seeks reception.
Grace inspires reaction.
This dance to the rhythm of grace is the encounter of a lifetime. It contains unrelenting, unmatched potential. It has the potential to shake you free of shame. It has the potential to break you free of pride. It can bring hurts to healing and bondage to freedom. It can utterly transform you.
Will you hear me out?
I don’t want you to just see it.
I want you to perceive it.
Grace is worth it.
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