A woman with matted hair and a tattered coat shuffled up the aisle and onto the platform to join the others gathered on stage. The pastor had called those who wanted to share their cardboard testimonies to the front. He only expected a few, but twenty stood in a row with shoulders pulled back and heads held high, ready to share how God had worked in their lives.
The pastor smiled. “Let’s begin.”
Grace Greater Than Our Sin filled the sanctuary. The congregation sat in silence as the individuals on stage raised their cards.
A young woman’s card read, “Cancer.” She turned it around. “Healed.” The next one said, “Alcoholic” then “Delivered.” “Adultery” then “Forgiven.”
One by one the simple words displayed God’s grace. The last woman on stage stood on her tippy toes to lift hers higher than the rest. “Homeless.”
She whipped her card around and smiled with a toothless grin.
“Shelter.” She pumped her fist in the air and yelled, “Yes!”
The congregation jumped to their feet and clapped as the pastor sang the final verse.
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace…
Have you ever sat in silence in your church and looked around at those gathered? What did you see?
All kinds of people with struggles—rich, poor, young, old. Each with a different story.
But each with one thing in common.
We all deal with trials differently. Some try to hide behind the crisp pages of their Bible, pretending everything is okay when it isn’t. They look like they have it all together with their beautiful clothes, wide smiles, and eloquent words. Why do we create a façade?
Others display their struggles for all to see like a peacock spreading its beautiful feathers. They want others to hurt like they do.
Which category do we fall into? Do we look at each other and judge the cover but forget to open the book and dig deeper?
We’ve all had trials, but through them God gives us grace.
This song by Jim Brady captures it beautifully. He tells of a YouTube video where a church is displaying their cardboard testimonies. Each has a struggle, but each delivered by God’s grace.
I love these lines of this powerful song.
There are those in this life who’ve been dealt a poor hand
They’ve overcome and by God’s strength they stand
Those who have come through unbearable loss
Not defined by the past but defined by the cross.
When we look at the congregation around us, do we only see pain and sorrow? If we dug deeper, what would we see?
John 1:16 (NIV)
Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.
Watch this video of those sharing their cardboard testimonies. What would your card read? Share in the comments.
I See Grace (by Jim Brady, Barry Weeks, Tony Wood)
Listen to these powerful words.
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