The other day I went for a walk in my neighborhood. It had been a difficult day for me. The dark clouds hung heavy on the soul and threatened rain. The Son seemed hidden. As I walked along, trying to clear my head and gain some perspective, I looked down at the road which had recently been resurfaced. Along the edges of the new pavement, I noticed green grass and weeds were already sprouting up through asphalt. Alive things coming from dead. Is this not the lesson of hard grace? I ask. Is this not the mystery of God: that only the Divine can so work in a soul that He can bring forth life out of dead things? My heart is so often as the rocky, hard road. I have nothing by which to merit any grace-growing. But God does His work best in the unlikely places and in the most unlikely means. What has been given up for dead He declares to be His newest masterpiece. He sees that hard soil and turns it into His latest garden. Green things - alive things - start to emerge from the dead.
Sometimes there seems to be no hope in the journey of life. All living quality seems to have been stripped from us and we feel like the asphalt: pressed flat and left to dry out. Dead and dirty. Jesus however sees this as an opportunity to demonstrate what He does best. He scatters the seeds of love and life and begins to water them. In time, the lifeless "pavement" that is our soul starts to respond to His gracious bidding to arise from it's dead past and spring into new life. He embraces the chance to perform His work and,once again, drives home the message that one can grow only by pushing up though the cracked and broken places where life is absent. Like the grass and weeds, it takes hard things to make weak ones strong. Hard grace is the friend of the believer.
I walk on and I realize this truth that I know well but continue to be reminded of: only God can create a resurrection in the stony human heart. Only God can drive the dark clouds that hang over with a little reminder of His grace. And, in so doing, the Son returns and all is well with my soul.