“Don’t ever say to the Lord that it’s too late–for anything,” the speaker addressed a roomful of women’s hearts eager to grow in God’s grace. “It’s never too late for our Lord. He’s the mercy giver,” (Click to Tweet) said Shirley Suedkamp, author, storyteller, humorist, and lover of the Lord Jesus.
The occasion for Shirley’s winsome sharing was our annual Women’s Retreat, the highlight of our year. This year’s theme was “Grow in Grace.” Shirley presented two examples of “Failed Women” as she called them. The morning session focused around Jesus grace given to the Woman at the Well in John 4:1-29 while the afternoon session involved Jesus’ healing of the woman with the hemorrhage and Jairus’ daughter in Mark 5:21-42.
With rapt attention, the women listened and watched as Shirley retold the Scripture and re-enacted it with her own interesting twist. The crowds pressing in. The important position of Jairus, a synagogue leader who fell at the feet of Jesus to plead for his daughter’s life. Then a woman crawls through the crushing crowd, thinking “If I can only touch His garment, I will be healed.”
As Shirley verbalized the Scripture, she crawled on the makeshift stage–somewhat humorously–as if she were this hemorrhaging woman. According to Shirley, this woman was failed because her physical issue made her an outcast and sinner who could not enter the synagogue. And she was desperate. Desperate enough to crawl with her last ounce of energy to be near Jesus and embarrass herself by pushing through the crowd to reach for His prayer shawl. The contrast–synagogue leader; synagogue outcast, both needing the Master’s touch, His mercy, His grace.
When the Scripture said that power flowed out from Jesus, Shirley jumped up and did a little dance. “Because if that was me, and I had felt the power of Jesus flow through me and noticed my blood had stopped running, I would have danced,” she said. Laughter bubbled through the tables as the women enjoyed Shirley’s adaptation of the verses.
Under the Lord’s prayer shawl of healing, we will find grace and mercy in desperate times of need.
“Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.” Psalm 57:1 NIV
Then Shirley told a story that hit home with me. She once had sought work at a beauty school because she felt the Lord leading her there. But upon her acceptance, she looked around at the types of people with whom she would be working. Astonished, she questioned, “Lord, did you see those people?” She continued on and listed all of their faulty characteristics.
Grace is a two-way street. We are a desperate people needing God’s grace every moment of every day. And there is a world of desperate people out there who need to be given our grace, empowered by the Holy Spirit, every moment of every day.
God’s grace settled upon me as I gazed around the room at the beautiful handcrafted banner, the delicate baby’s breath bouquets, and realized that being imperfect, a failed woman desperate to grow in God’s grace, is a good place to be.
Thought-provoking words for 3-D Lessons for Life.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.” 2 Peter 3:18