As a young girl I always had aspirations to dance, specifically as a ballerina. It wasn’t that I was particularly gifted with gracefulness, but I loved the idea of being graceful. Or so I thought. The Nutcracker ballet was my favorite movie, and there was so much I admired about the dancers – their poise, posture, precision – yet, all of these things I desired played into a much bigger “p” word: power.
What I did not realize at 10 that I understand now is that I did not only want to gracefully leap across the stage, I wanted to do it with power. Ballerinas are not just graceful. If they were only graceful, and not powerful, their moves would flow like a pretty ribbon blowing in a breeze, but with no strength or structure to its movement. Yet, if they were only powerful and not graceful, they may be more like a hurricane, strong and firm to its course, but much less adaptable and flexible. No, ballerinas have both power and grace behind each and every move they make, and so does God.
I love the song Gracious Tempest by Hillsong Young & Free. What particularly caught my attention was the title. There is something about the way it just rolls off the tongue… “Gracious Tempest”. At first I did not understand what it meant, so I did what I do when I need deeper insight to a spiritual concept – I googled it! Here is what I found:
- Gracious: courteous, kind, and pleasant; showing divine grace
- Tempest: a violent windy storm
At first look these two seem so contrary. Gracious, like the ribbon, yet a tempest, like the hurricane. And despite these being at seemingly opposite ends of the spectrum, they are both used in scripture to describe this God we so strongly believe in.
Psalm 116:5-6 NIV says “The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me.” And Isaiah 29:6 NIV says “But your many enemies will become like fine dust, the ruthless hordes like blown chaff. Suddenly, in an instant, the Lord Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.”
God is never either or, He is always both. He is always gracious enough to revive the most decrepit heart, and reach to the lowest places we find ourselves in, and, yet still, this tempest storm who can ravage and destroy and claim victory over every ounce of darkness and shame.
It is when you combine these two extremes that you find the true nature of God. In all His Almighty glory, God’s grace is powerful. His grace can demolish any stronghold that would strangle the existence of anything pure. And at the same time His preeminent strength is so gracious to us – He will rip us away from our sinfulness, while comforting the very wounds that sin leaves on the hearts of His beloved children. God is strong and compassionate. He is powerful and gentle. He is gracious and a hurricane storm. He is always both because He, Himself, IS.
“Then I will live among the people of Israel and be their God, and they will know that I am the Lord their God. I am the one who brought them out of the land of Egypt so that I could live among them. I am the Lord their God.” Exodus 29:45-46 NLT
God’s grace is relentless. Fierce. Unstoppable. Pure. Vast. Vicious. Steadfast. Powerful. God’s grace is an inescapable storm that will overwhelm you to your core as it picks up every piece of your mangled life and places it back, in perfect order, in the wildest, but most beautiful way possible. When the storms around you feel unbeatable, call upon the Name of the Storm who cannot be beat. Call upon God Almighty, and then let Him, in His gracious tempest way, unfold His very best for you as you live for Him despite the storm.
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Elle Gray was raised in Mobile, Alabama, where she met and married her husband, Hayden. Since becoming a full-time mom to their little boy, Ethan, God has grown in her a burden for women, especially moms. Elle loves using her spiritual gifts to encourage other women, particularly in a spiritual setting.