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Grace and Glory

“He will give grace and he will give glory.” Psalm 84:11

“Sickness may befall, but the Lord will give grace; poverty may happen to us, but grace will surely be afforded; death must come, but grace will light a candle at the darkest hour. Reader, how blessed it is as years roll round, and the leaves begin again to fall, to enjoy such an unfading promise as this, “The Lord will give grace.”

The little conjunction and in the verse is a diamond rivet binding the present with the future:

grace and glory always go together.

God has married them and none can divorce them.

The Lord will never deny a soul glory to whom He has freely given to live upon His grace;

indeed, glory is nothing more than grace in its Sabbath dress,

grace in full bloom,

grace like autumn fruit, mellow and perfected.

Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, October 1

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The ring was placed on my finger. A fine band of gold with a diminutive diamond set at its center.

The symbol of a promise.

It was a symbol of the grace of our present. I was his beloved. I was the apple of his eye, bride-to-be, the girl of his dreams. We were young and we lived in the golden bindings of the grace supplied by love in its spring.

Though small the centerpiece diamond shone with promise. It’s tiny size did not deny the strength of its composition–it was a diamond after all, the hardest of precious gems. It’s facets caught light unawares and sparkled with glory to be: the promise of grace to become, to be revealed.Glory.

And hope was the thing that mattered above all: without that diamond rivet, ours would be another love-in-spring story, another golden band broken and discarded. The diamond centerpiece holds fast the promise “til death do us part” that binds us together in grace and glory, now and forever.

It was our rivet of hope, that diamond.

In 1991, my husband and I exchanged our vows around that little ring of promise. We’ve battled it out these two decades and rode the highs and lows of life together, sometimes barely touching hands and other times clasped together in unity.

The greatest truth about love and marriage is its design to be lasting. Sure, our broken condition has tarnished its intention. Our sin erodes the bands of love leaving so many in a wake of pain and loss; but its intent is permanence.

We almost didn’t make it to that twenty year mark. Just ten days before our anniversary, we collided with a van who failed to stop before crossing the highway. One person was categorized in critical condition: me.

Darkest hour, indeed.

But the Lord gave grace.  And grace lit a candle whose tiny flame shone in its amber brilliance against the backdrop of the storm. I fought for my life during an emergency surgery that put my internal organs back together, back in place, freeing my lungs to take in air again.

Prayers, whispers of hope, caught rushing handfuls of flame as they flew heavenward, casting light into darkness.

The diamond stayed true and sure in its setting, a steadfast symbol of grace and glory.

Through the years we had reveled in the dewy light of spring’s new-love-grace, then softened into the mellowed, ripened glory of a life-long love story. Our marriage had now survived this testing point, this ragged cliff of death.

I returned home the night before our twentieth wedding anniversary. Broken but healing, swollen and bruised, forever scarred by injury, but securely bound in the center of that rivet with my husband. We awoke together, August 24th, 2011, knowing that we were meant to drink in the grace of more life together.

We had no party, no candlelit dinner, no tickets for a Caribbean cruise. Just us two and our four kids, a half-dozen smiles and the knowing that the diamond rivet held fast to its band of gold– we’d survived this great tests and we sparkled light like a dazzling cocktail ring, us six Santos’ together.

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Friends, your love story may be beautiful. It may be broken or done for good. It may be a thing of your dreams.

But I need to tell you:

There is a lover who will not fail, a lover who pursues you and makes promises that cannot, will not, be broken. Jesus himself came and set the diamond rivet in the band of covenant. In the Hebrew tradition, covenant is signified by cutting in two — the promise was made by cutting the sacrificial lamb in two and walking between the halves.

Jesus has walked the halves for you — that darkest of pathways lit only by the glory set before him, the cross. And he offers the grace and the glory to you.

The grace of peace and forgiveness and life now and the glory of the future with him in eternity: they are one promise, together in one ring.

Slip it on your finger. Feel its roundness and its balanced weight. Grace and Glory.

Know without a doubt you will never know one without the other for “The Lord will never deny a soul glory to whom He has freely given to live upon His grace; indeed, glory is nothing more than grace in its Sabbath dress, grace in full bloom, grace like autumn fruit, mellow and perfected.”

It is all for you. Believe it. Wear it. Know its superiority to any other thought: He will give grace to you now and he will give glory forever. His word is his promise and the rivet holds fast.

 
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