Little River Band sang a song called Hang On, Help Is On The Way. The title of this song made me think of the love of the prodigal's father when he was running to his son to help him by showering grace upon him. If the Father could have delivered a message to his son, while his son was walking up the hot dusty road and while the father was running down that same road, I think it would have been Hang On! Grace Is On The Way!
Charlie walked into my office feeling hopeless. His life of addiction had caused tremendous pain, regret, guilt, and shame in his life. His addiction had taken nearly everything from him. He had walked away from God and his family. He was a broken man. He was a desperate man. He was a humbled man. He was hungry for change. Yet, he could not not envision anything good that could come from his life. He could not envision life could possibly get better. In his mind, he had ruined his life with no hope for the future.
I shared with him that the broken condition he was in was actually a great place to be. Even though everything seemed bad, he was in a good place. However, he could not fathom how his current broken condition was a good thing. I shared with him it was a good thing because God's grace was on the way. With grace, God begins to heal the brokenhearted. I shared with him that it was only a matter of time before the truth of God's grace would began to heal and bring joy to his heart. Because of grace, I told him, his worst days were behind him and his best days were before him. He wanted to believe it. But, at that point in his brokenness, he couldn't. So I told him, hang on, grace is on the way!
Over the next several weeks, we met regularly. I began to share with him the hope-giving, heart-healing, life-changing message of grace. I shared with him the story of the prodigal son who was in a similar condition. The prodigal was broken, in pain, hopeless, and full of regret, guilt, and shame. However, grace was on the way. In the story, the prodigal's father, full of grace, was running toward his son to lavish upon him unconditional love, unmerited kindness, and unlimited forgiveness. Yet, at that time in the prodigal's life, he could not envision his life ever getting better. Yet, when grace arrived, hope and healing came. The prodigal's worst days were behind him and his best days were before him. With the father's grace, the brokenhearted prodigal was healed.
Charlie and I continued to talk about grace during our weekly appointments. We talked about how Jesus, through grace, wanted to make rich the poor in heart, release those who were imprisoned in their addictions, and open the eyes of those who were blind to the hope a better future. Jesus came to proclaim grace to broken people.
I explained to Charlie the cross was the center of grace. At the cross, God lavished his grace upon him when Jesus paid his sin debt in full. As a result of Jesus' payment for his sin, God was not counting his sin against him. All of his sins were counted against Jesus. Furthermore, I explained to Charlie, through faith in Jesus, he could receive God's forgiveness. Not only that, but through faith he could be freely justified and declared to be righteous before God, meaning innocent and clean before God. And finally, through grace, he could be reconciled to God, or brought into a loving relationship with God. And through this relationship, his life could be restored so that his worst days were behind him and his best days were ahead of him.
As we talked about more about grace, Charlie's eyes begin to open to grace, his heart began to be healed by grace, and freedom was coming through grace. Grace was producing hope in his heart and a smile on his face. Grace was no longer on the way, grace had arrived!