Tell me you can’t relate to this scenario. You talk to a woman who is in the middle of a trial. She testifies to God’s overwhelming and sustaining grace. You marvel at her peace and joy that belies her suffering. But instead of praising God for His evident faithfulness, you begin to imagine yourself enduring her ordeal. How
would I cope? I don’t think I could handle it. I hope it doesn’t happen to me. With high-definition clarity and color you see yourself in the midst of her ordeal. Grace is nowhere to be found, and you are gripped by
fear and dread.
So often we ignore the awesome displays of God’s faithfulness to people in trials and instead imagine ourselves in their situation, minus the grace of God. We would do well to heed Elisabeth Elliot’s wise reminder that there is no grace for our imaginations. None. It’s simply not available. God is not waiting in the wings to help us through whatever horrible imaginary trouble we can conjure up today. But His goodness is stored up and will be abundantly poured out whenever we walk through a real trial.
I’ve passed along this piece of advice to oodles of women. Maybe that’s because there are so many like me who easily submit to fear. So let’s resolve together: the next time we observe someone going through a trial, let’s turn off our imaginations and instead fix our gaze on the marvelous, abundant, overwhelming and timely grace of God—the same grace that will be available to us when we actually need it.
“…do not fear anything that is frightening.” 1 Peter 3:6