A place of Grace

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The other day I stumbled across an article written by a lady who (like so many of us) has battled hard and long over the issue of emotional eating. When we fail to live up to our hopes and expectations we can easily beat ourselves up with feelings of guilt and shame, but this ultimately leads to a vicious circle of more emotional eating and even more guilt and shame. 

So here is the article I read, written by Lysa TerKeurst.

“Does God ever get tired of my issues?”

I’ve asked myself this question many times throughout my lifelong struggle with emotional eating.

Over the course of my journey, I’ve whined to God, gotten mad at God and often ignored God. And I’ve worried I was going to use up all my grace with God.

I felt He would be justified to say, “Enough! Go away. I’m tired of your issues. Figure it out for yourself!” That is, until I read again the “first story” of God’s grace with fresh eyes.

We often think of God’s grace beginning at the cross. But as I read through the Scripture from the point of view of someone struggling with food issues, I saw a revelation of God’s grace right from the start in Genesis.

Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating from the forbidden tree and ushered sin in to the world. God handed down the consequences of their actions, which included banishment from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). They must have believed they had pushed past the boundaries of God’s grace. After all, He was sending them out of the garden.

Whenever I’ve read that story, I thought they had to leave paradise because God was punishing them. God was disappointed in them. God was giving them what they deserved. But I was wrong. Their relocation was not a place of abandonment — it was a place of grace.

You see, there were two special trees in the Garden of Eden. One was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; this was the one with the forbidden fruit. The other was the tree of life. This was the one that gave Adam and Eve perpetual life — no diseases, no death, no sagging body parts. (Okay I’m not sure about that last benefit, but I’m banking on this reality in heaven.)

Anyhow. When they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin entered in. Sin corrupted everything. And at that point, it was God’s absolute love and most tender mercy that ushered Adam and Eve out of the garden. Not His anger or retaliation. They had to leave.

If they’d been allowed to stay, they would have kept eating from the tree of life and lived forever, wallowing in sin. Wallowing in all the brokenness sin brings with it: disease, fear, heartbreak, separation from God.

An unending life of shame and sin would have been their fate.

God couldn’t stand that for the people He loved. So, His love made them leave and allowed them to die. So that they could experience the resurrected life His Son would one day provide.

Brokenness to redemption.

God did not run out of grace at the dawn of humankind. And He will not run out of grace for you or for me. He does not want us to ever stay in a perpetual state of sin and despair. We were not created with a food struggle or physical cravings because God is angry at us. It is because He loves us so much that He allows our struggle with food to be a physical indication of a spiritual situation.

God is asking for us to go to a new place as well — and it is a place of grace!

Receive grace and let it wash away all shame and guilt from every unhealthy choice you’ve ever regretted and fretted over. Yes, there is work to do and progress to be made, but we will walk from here with a clean slate.

This grace and the unfathomable depth of God’s love settle me. Breathes hope into my dread. And trust into my doubts.

So when I stumble along on this journey, I know this grace is there for me, and I will come running back. And once again, it will give me a soft place to land.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

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