To see sin without grace is despair.
To see grace without sin is arrogance.
To see them in tandem is conversion.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. — Galatians 2:20
Christ is on the move, aggressively budging you from graceless to grace-shaped living. The gift-given giving gifts.
God sees in you a masterpiece about to happen.
He will do with you what Vik Muniz did with the garbage pickers of Gramacho. Jardim Gramacho is the largest landfill in the world, the Godzilla of garbage dumps. What Rio de Janeiro discards, Gramacho takes.
And what Gramacho takes, catadores scavenge. About three thousand garbage pickers scrape a living out of the rubbish, salvaging two hundred tons of recyclable scraps daily. They trail the never-ending convoy of trucks, trudging up the mountains of garbage and sliding down the other side, snagging scraps along the way. Plastic bottles, tubes, wires, and paper are sorted and sold to wholesalers who stand on the edge of the dump.
Across the bay the Christ the Redeemer statue extends his arms toward Rio’s South Zone and its million-dollar beachfront apartments. Tourists flock there; no one comes to Gramacho. No one except Vik Muniz.
This Brazilian-born artist convinced five garbage workers to pose for individual portraits. Suelem, an eighteen-year-old mother of two, has worked the garbage since the age of seven. Isis is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. Zumbi reads every book he finds in the trash. Irma cooks discarded produce in a large pot over an open fire and sells it. Tiao has organized the workers into an association.
Muniz took photos of their faces, then enlarged the images to the size of a basketball court. He and the five catadores outlined the facial features with trash. Bottle tops became eyebrows. Cardboard boxes became chin lines. Rubber tires overlaid shadows. Images gradually emerged from the trash. Muniz climbed onto a thirty-foot-tall platform and took new photos.
The result? The second-most-popular art exhibit in Brazilian history, exceeded only by the works of Picasso. Muniz donated the profits to the local garbage pickers’ association. You might say he treated Gramacho with grace.
Grace does this. God does this. Grace is God walking into your world with a sparkle in His eye and an offer that’s hard to resist. “Sit still for a bit. I can do wonders with this mess of yours.” Believe this promise. Trust it. Cling like a barnacle to every hope and covenant.
Grace hugged the stink out of the prodigal and scared the hate out of Paul and pledges to do the same in us.
Grace comes after you.
It rewires you.
From insecure to God secure.
From regret-riddled to better-because-of-it.
From afraid-to-die to ready-to-fly.
I — yes, I alone — will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again. — Isaiah 43:25
Watch the Video for Grace Happens Here
Excerpted with permission from Grace Happens Here by Max Lucado, copyright Thomas Nelson.
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It’s so easy to feel like the mess you’re in — the “garbage” you grew up in, or painful marriage that’s slowly crumbling, the anger that demolished dear friendships, the job loss and financial fear, the church split that broke so many hearts, the suffering you’re enduring — can never be touched by grace, and can never be made beautiful. Today, soak in God’s promise to do just that — to make what’s painful and wrecked beautiful for His glory! Come join the conversation on our blog! We’d love to hear your thoughts on grace. ~ Devotionals Daily