Grace and peace

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (2 Peter 1:2 ESV)

I love how Peter greets his readers with these words because it is a blessing combined with his salutation. It’s not natural for us to speak this way because we tend to ask a simple, “How are you?” And the typical response we get is, “Good!” Then we rush off into the busyness of our day, not ever stopping to hear what’s really going in that person’s life.

I try to break out of that habit by asking something different, a curveball question that takes a little more thought to answer. I would sometimes ask, “So what’s new and exciting?” Or, “How is your family?” I find that everyone needs acknowledgment because we are all made to be in community. Grace and peace multiplies when we get to know God, and even more so in the fellowship of other believers. Getting to know our Lord takes time, where regular visits in prayer and Bible reading enhances our awareness of him. Reading rapidly through a Bible is like telling God to hurry because you have other important things to do. It is similar to asking him, “How are you?” and expecting the same one-syllable response. No good relationship is formed with short encounters and limited conversations. And where there is no relationship with God, we can be sure that grace and peace will be absent too.

We may think grace and peace are buried underneath a mountain of problems, and that the only way to get them is to reduce our problem list. Jesus would probably stare at that mountain and ask, “Where shall we begin?” While holding a shovel in his hand, he may instruct us to dig around to uncover a blessing or two. But you later find out that the goal was never to reduce the size of that mountain. He may want us to conquer it with a gradual climb and an occasional dig. It’s along the journey where peace and grace are found by spending lots of time with him. The more we talk, the better the conversations and our responses to his advisement. And the higher we climb, the more trust we place on him to not let us fall backwards. He reminds us that even on our mountain of problems we can all “take heart” because he has “overcome the world” (John 16:33).

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