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February 2010
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God’s Grace

There are moments in life we actually stop and listen.  There are times we really hear the message.  In those moments, it’s rare, but in those moments, it’s possible to feel something in a way we never have before.  I don’t have those moments as much I’d like to. 

But tonight I did.

I’ve spent the last few months amazed at some of the things I’ve read from friends on Facebook.  People I never really got the chance to truly know.  For one reason or another, while we might have spent years in the same school or in the same fraternity, we never really got to be authentic.  We never truly had the opportunity to get beyond the superficial. 

Yeah, I think a lot of it had to do with my sexuality.  And most of those walls, I built myself.  I was always afraid of being myself, of living authentically.  I was always avoiding who I was, in one way or another.

That was years ago, and I’m not the same person I used to be.  Today I’m rather comfortable with myself and my life. 

And along the way, I’ve reconnected with some amazing friends.  Some I never really knew and some I was too scared to know.

While many of the barriers I built have come down, I still have many questions.

Or at least I did.

While I never really struggled with my relationship with God, I had trouble explaining it to many of my friends.  They couldn’t understand how I could even begin to think my life was acceptable.  We talked and we debated and we researched.  Never reaching a definitive conclusion.

I reached my peace through prayer.  So many people base everything they know on the Bible.  And I appreciate that foundation.  But the Bible, alone, is not enough for me.  I’ve always needed more, I’ve always needed a personal relationship with God.  And through that relationship, I found my peace.

God so mighty and strong to create us, give His Son, and offer us eternal life is as alive today as the days of the Bible.  God spoke clearly in Biblical days and He speaks clearly now.  When I asked people how they knew God didn’t approve, they constantly came back with, “The Bible says…” 

Not one person came back with “God told me….”

I don’t base my beliefs on the Bible alone.  I base them on God alone. 

And while the Bible is God’s Word, I hear God tell me how we cannot base everything we know and believe on the book alone.  We must live with God and let God live through us.

God can speak to us today just as He did in the Bible.

And tonight, God spoke to me.

Getting back in touch with an old friend who recently asked “How do you reconcile your life with your love for the Lord?”

I struggled to find the right answer.

How could people I thought would never accept my life, suddenly become friends again?  Looking passed so much?

God gave me the answer tonight.

I overheard this conversation tonight between a young father and his little girl…

They were just down from me looking at the same choice of coffee table books.  The dad was steadily searching for something to do with maps of the middle east and the little girl was simply sitting, turning page after life-size page of a book with pictures of the ocean. 

I was contemplating purchasing a book about Bora Bora for an upcoming vacation.  Oddly enough, the little girl was looking at a picture of the Pacific Ocean, not too far from where I’m planning to vacation.  I smiled and told her I was “going there in a few months.”

Her eyes got really big and she smiled.

The dad interjected that the vacation would be nice.  Endless sun, beaches, and the great big ocean. 

The little girl said “the ocean’s really big…” and nodded convincingly.

Yeah, I thought about it, the ocean is really big.

I told her “I don’t think I’ll even be able to see the end of the ocean, it just keeps on going!”

She smiled and laughed.

Her dad said the ocean was the largest thing on Earth, it had no end. 

I kept making small talk and said I couldn’t think of anything else that had no limits like the ocean.  It just goes on and on.

The little girl smiled and without missing a beat, that little girl let God speak to me. 

Out of a young lady who couldn’t have been more than four years old, I heard the answer to my questions.  How could friends see passed so much?  How could I reconcile my life with God’s love?

In a wonderful moment tonight I talked about how the oceans go on forever and they at times look as if they’ll never end.   And in a few short words, this little girl and God explained me to how so many things are possible.

I said “I can’t think of anything else that has no limits like the ocean.  It just goes on and on.”

And without hesitation and the warmest smile she responded.

“God’s Grace.”

Two words.  A smile.  And a moment that was so much more than what it was.

“God’s Grace.”

Her dad explained they’d just heard the message tonight at church.  And she was still talking about it.  She wasn’t questioning it, but rather, it’s like she was explaining it.  To her it made such perfect sense.  There’s nothing bigger than God’s Grace; it never ends.

We aren’t meant to understand everything.  And in times where comprehension is too much, where we can’t reconcile it all, we have God’s Grace. 

The limits of God’s Grace, I pray we’ll never know.

How do I reconcile my life?  How do we as people see passed so much?  How do we tear down barriers?  Begin to be authentic?  How do we do all of this?

God’s Grace.

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4 comments on “God’s Grace

  1. tom benton says:

    Hello Jason,
    This is truly profound. If we just listen, God will speak to us through many means. I am strengthened to know that you have had this tremendous revelation.
    Blessings,
    Tom

  2. josh says:

    thanks for sharing this with me and all the people that read this and i say a big AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Joe says:

    Wow. Great message. I miss talking to you. I wonder if I was one of those relationships you slighted because of fear of authenticity. I want to be authentic, even though I feel like a fake, a hypocrite almost every time I open my mouth-I believe God designated His Word (with a Big W, equating it, literally, with His Son Jesus) as the Authority for our reason and understanding–I am too emotional, fickle, changing and sin-driven with an unshakable selfish motivation to trust my evolving image of God. God’s Grace..Mmmm. I abide there. I have struggled with a habitual sin/addiction/proclivity/temptation toward/biological make-up of–I call it whatever suits me at the moment–chemical abuse. Surely you remember my “weed box” Julie McElrath outed in front of you, Heather, Amanda, Kristi, Brian…my Alpha Xi superiors…as well as my in-the-closet, infrequent alcohol binges. Jason, I know you didn’t ask, but I do think “unBiblical” sexuality is a physical/emotional sin issue. I think most of us (men especially) face it almost daily. But I also know I’m intimately aware of the fact that we are all a combination of God’s image and Adam & Eve’s hereditary goof. Know this, I love you, man. I always looked up to you. I LOVE your recount of the Princess in the Bookstore. According to the Bible, we must become just like her (“these”) to enter into His kingdom right? No wonder. Beauty, God’s image at it’s purest. I hope to run into you again at your Ozark Starbucks location. Hopefully we will both recognize providence next time it intersects our paths. BTW, I shouldn’t be wearing a straight Gangsta’ Ski Cap in the future 🙂 Love you, Jason Caldarera.
    Grace and Peace,
    Joe Goffeney

  4. Conye says:

    Thank you for this.

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