Years ago I was getting ready to speak for the first time at our church’s women’s bible study group. As I got ready in the morning, I was intently praying that all would go well and I distinctly remember asking God that I wouldn’t trip going up the steps. Almost as soon as the request hit my mind another thought formulated. “What if somehow God intended to use a stumble upon the stairs for His glory?” As much as I didn’t want the humiliation and embarrassment of tripping, I also wanted God to use me in whatever way necessary for Him to get the most praise. My request quickly changed – whether entering the stage gracefully or revealing my clumsiness, my desire was not for my renown but for God’s.
What this inner dialogue illustrated is something that Scripture also reveals – sometimes God’s grace is most revealed in our humility. The Israelites experienced this when they were wandering in the dessert. They became totally dependent upon God – for food, for protection and for direction – and yet in that path of humbleness – God’s grace to them was revealed. He provided for them in unexpected ways and use that to restore them into a right relationship with Him. In this case, humbling them was part of God’s discipline on their lives, but that is not always the case. And either way, when we are humbled, we more readily see our need for God and are more apt to give Him the credit and praise He deserves.
This doesn’t mean that when we go through a time of humbling that it will be easy. It may cause us to question what we believe to be true about ourselves and may rattle our relationships with others. But it does mean that even as we experience the discomfort, we can be thankful for the work that God is doing. And we can recognize that even in humbling us, there is grace.