About a year ago, I was in a My City small group that was reading through the book Unqualified by Steven Furtick. When I first started reading the book and attending the group, I don’t think I realized just how much the book would impact me. There was a line in there that truly resonated with me:
“The end of yourself is often the beginning of grace.”
Steven Furtick, Unqualified
The image that came to mind in reading that line was a prism and the spectrum of color that flows from it. I shared this image with the group I was reading along with, and ever since then, it has stuck with me; there has been a tug in my heart to explore God’s gift of grace with this imagery in mind.
We are a lot like a color prism, especially when we consider our identities, our relationship with God, and His boundless gift of grace.
To put “grace” into context, here are a few definitions from Webster’s Dictionary that I think bring to light the vastness of this word’s meaning and depth:
- Simple elegance or refinement of movement.
- The free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
- Divinely given talent or blessing.
Life sometimes feels like it is coming at us all once: the good, the bad, and everything in between. This mixture of life experience is similar to the white light that enters a prism, considering white light encompasses every color. At this point, even though this white light (whether it be an aspect of life or specific truth reflective of God’s vision) can be overwhelming, daunting, maybe even terrifying to embrace or absorb at a given time, what we need is God to intercede in our world and bring light and clarity to situations, our identities, and our spiritual relationships. This comes with refraction period in our own lives.
In Webster’s Dictionary, refraction is a “change in direction” or “phenomenon of light being deflected in passing through one medium and another”. The idea of refraction can get a bit wordy and complex, but in short, it is the shift in direction, the bending of light, where the white light is broken down into different colors.
When considering this definition of refraction, I think as human beings we endure that same process in our hearts and lives as whole. In refraction, we experience redemption, re-ignition, and restoration.
“In Him we have redemption, through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that He richly poured out on us with all wisdom and understanding.”
Ephesians 1:7-8 (NIV)
- There is redemption in refraction.
- When we experience the process of refraction, which happens when we surrender our own vision, timing, and agenda and fully embrace the carefully and beautifully crafted story God has written on our hearts, painted over with his abundant grace, which includes the gifts, talents, and wavelengths so unique to the fabric of our own identities, then we are able to shift onto a new path and a new direction with newly-found freedom.
- There is re-ignition in refraction.
- Realistically we all face trials and tough seasons. When coming out of difficult or seemingly dry seasons, it is so easy to feel deflated, especially when we fixate on the circumstance, whether it be hurts of the past, uncertainties of the future, or pains of the present. Shifting our perspective in those moments and setting our eyes on God, His Word, and greater purpose for us can reignite our hearts to see the victory past our circumstances and current battles. This provides fuel in armoring our hearts with knowing God is always on our side.
- There is restoration in refraction.
- What is beautiful about refraction is that no light is lost in this process of shifting and breaking. This so beautifully speaks to how God uses and restores us. He uses us no matter the defeats, the chains, the shortcomings, or the flaws. In truth and in God’s eyes, we haven’t lost our light. The whole spectrum of color still resides in us and it has since the moment we were created. It is just that matter of us having our hearts wide open, and God bringing the color spectrum of clarity, victory, understanding and wisdom to our situations. That doesn’t mean God gives us every single detail, but instead gives us peace in accepting his grasp in our lives and the confidence to embrace a life of boldness.
Another way to see this prism is having refraction represent the unlocking of our spiritual gifts. In 1 Corinthians, the chapter explores the various spiritual gifts a person could have: speaking or interpreting tongues, healing, prophecy, etc. This can reflect that spectrum of color coming from a facet of a prism. This is not to say a person will have every single spiritual gift listed in the chapter, but it shows the vastness of unique spiritual gifts we could have, the importance of embracing these gifts and the truth of spiritual gifts within our hearts being unlocked in the process of refraction and in God’s timing.
What is the density of your heart in this moment, in the highs and lows? Grace from God is free-flowing, but are you our open to embracing that favor so freely and lovingly given to you?
Whether you are in the midst of trial, or in presence of a victory; Whether you’re discerning your identity or purpose, or are in the midst of a revelation, know that we serve a God whose outpouring love will always be sufficient in filling and overflowing our spiritual cups, no matter the season. We are prisms in which God’s grace pours. At the end of ourselves, our own understanding, and the facets of the prism, God’s grace begins.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient enough for you.'”
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)