The Embrace of Grace — Perspectives from Christian Colleges
Here’s the beauty of Christian colleges: the faculty, staff, and administration all love Jesus. And it’s not something they just keep to themselves — our campus leaders share about their faith in chapel, at meetings, and sometimes even on our blog!
One of our many dynamic campus leaders and Associate Dean of Student Diversity and Inclusion, Cokiesha Bailey Robinson, just so happens to be a gifted writer and communicator. Her greatest passions are encouraging others through creative oral and written expression. She has authored numerous books, and prior to coming on at Grace, Robinson made routine appearances on the Grace College chapel stage. She recently wrote this article for Our Daily Bread Publishing. Be encouraged as you read — we hope you feel the warmth of our Christian college as you do!
It’s always great to be thankful. On a holiday, special day, any day. We see social media “thank” posts daily for a relationship with Christ, health, family and friends, jobs, ministries, opened doors and opportunities, dreams realized, homes and warmth and shelter, food, peace, freedom, safety, and the list goes on.
My prayer is that gratefulness will extend beyond this holiday season and remain my attitude and lifestyle. All that we have, if we are honest, is more than enough. We should pause often to give thanks for who God is and for who He has made us to be. Every hair, fingerprint, dimple, freckle, personality trait, and strength each of us has is designed to reflect God’s image (Genesis 1:27).
As we mature, life’s setbacks, strains, and struggles bring blessings and testimonies we can be grateful for too. Devastation, failure, betrayal, loss, and hurt turn our hearts in closer intimacy with His. He knows what the hurts He allows will produce. “That I may know Him, . . . and the fellowship of His sufferings” (Philippians 3:10 KJV) tells us that intimacy will involve suffering. Suffering can produce growth in patience, hope, forgiveness, humility, and resilience for Christ. The apostle Paul testified, “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10 NASB).
A layoff, diagnosis, death, loss of mate, or end of a friendship can sour our lives. So can feeling overwhelmed or discontent. There’s good news! “He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV). He not only walks with us on the mountains but also in the valleys of our experiences.
Many “walks” support cures for breast cancer, diabetes, aids, and other life-altering diseases. I saw a sign once: “Limping is still walking.” It encouraged runners, joggers, and walkers to stay in the race even if they were limping. Limping means we may walk slower, find a new perspective and norm, but it means we have not quit or become consumed by defeat or depression. Limps still reflect God’s grace.
A few months before my wedding, I experienced a life-changing mission trip to Izmir, Turkey, While studying the seven churches of Asia Minor, our group also built relationships with people and shared Christ. Then I had an accident and injured my legs, ankles, knees, and feet, returning to the States with a limp and a testimony. On my wedding day, I had a knee brace under my wedding gown. It didn’t stop me from a wonderful time, walking down the aisle to the man of my dreams, greeting guests, and dancing the night away. My struggle changed me but didn’t cripple me.
Dear Lord, allow our suffering to strengthen us. Thank You for victory o ver all things.
So what about you? What are you thankful for? What has changed your life and reminds you of God’s grace?
— Originally published as “Brace of Grace” by Cokiesha B. Robinson in Our Help. Used by permission of Our Daily Bread Publishing®, Grand Rapids MI. All rights reserved. Further distribution is prohibited without written permission from Our Daily Bread Publishing® at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you encouraged? We knew you would be!