Jackson Five Friday: Trench Lessons

Hey Friends,

Pixar movies aren’t a weekly part of our existence anymore, and part of me is sad about that. I loved hanging on the couch with a huge bowl of popcorn and watching movies with guaranteed laughs. Finding Nemo is one that we still regularly quote.

Then last Sunday I heard a sermon, that while not making any reference to Nemo, nonetheless got me thinking about a particular scene. Do you remember when the John Ratzenberger character warns the Ellen Degeneres character, Dory: “When you come to the trench, be sure to go through it, not over it.” Despite the fact that Dory makes assurances she won’t forget this explicit instruction, when they approach the trench she’s oblivious and yells out, “Nice trench!”

Dory ends up telling her travel companion, Marlin, she has a feeling they should go through the trench, but Marlin is not persuaded. They proceed over it, which they soon find is infested with jellyfish.

You may be wondering how this relates to the sermon. Well, the sermon was on sustaining grace, in other words, the truth that sometimes God gives us the grace to endure instead of the grace to escape. My pastor didn’t use the word “trench,” but he could have. Don’t you have examples from your own life where God’s grace has been THROUGH THE TRENCH, NOT OVER IT!?

If I had heard the same sermon — delivered powerfully and eloquently the way I did last Sunday — when I was a teenager or an early twenty-something, I doubt it would have impacted me at all. The concept of enduring grace was foreign to me, downright gibberish.

But once you’ve faced a trial or two, and the longer you the live the more you’ll face, you begin to understand the language.

But grasping the language is only part of the hurdle. You may theoretically understand that God sometimes sustains you in difficult situations instead of delivers you. You can acknowledge it with a heart of stone.

But when you can embrace enduring grace instead of insisting on “get me outta here” grace, then you are living a yielded life where no bitter root can take hold. You can be a sponge that soaks up the lessons God has for you even in the midst of pain and uncertainty.

That is my prayer today because I’m standing at the entry of a trench and my strong inclination is to try to maneuver my way over it, instead of through it.

And I know you too have circumstances where you are praying for some kind of change and yet God is instead offering You enduring grace.

I’ll leave you with two thoughts. First, never give up praying about whatever it is. And second, never give up trusting that His grace –whether sustaining or delivering — is enough.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

With Love,


2 thoughts on “Jackson Five Friday: Trench Lessons

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