The Fascination Of Grace

by Claire Vorster on October 21, 2014

“If there is one danger…it is just that – that allowing of the fascination of grace to deaden and ignore the beauties and duties of nature.” Friedrich von Hügel, writer and theologian


Fascination. It draws us closer, makes us stop and still, draw in breath. Like the hush of darkness just before dawn or the high mountains, when you look down and realise why you climbed at all.

Fascination asks questions, like…

What if the night sky was a canvas painted rich blue black upon which the Master threw stars, star upon star, galaxy upon galaxy, never ending rich, wild, unfathomable?

What if every snowflake was hand crafted, every animal chosen, every river bed carved out and ready for the savage roar of tumbling water, water upon water, lake and ocean, untameable?

What if a rainbow was tried out in different colours, over and over until the perfect stripes were found – just the right shade of everything, nothing out of place, no single colour screaming ‘look at me, I’m better than the rest.’

What if everything worked together, even the death of the wildebeest to the jaws of the lion? What if every creature had its place, the ant to the busy, tiny places, the bee to the meadow and the summer?

What if the wind could go from a gentle breeze to the full fury of a hurricane, just because one butterfly, somewhere, flapped its wings?

What if the things we need most for survival never took a day off – the sun rising, your heart beating, lungs filling with everything needed for life?

What if a rock face was made high enough, or the ocean deep enough for someone to say, ‘we could just about reach it, but we couldn’t stay there long, it would kill us.’?

For behold, he who forms the mountains, and creates the wind,
and declares to man what is his thought,
who makes the morning darkness,
and treads on the heights of the earth-
the LORD, the God of hosts, is his name!
Amos 4 v13, ESV

We have been given so much. Grace we did nothing to deserve. The gift of this rich earth, with its far flung stars and every sunrise our own canvas waiting the start of the unknown.

We are not Master, Creator or Director. But we are loved. And the Master waits for us, to finally slow, to notice something much wider, deeper – wonderous in fact. Until we drop the pretense of knowing, for the joy of being known. For the fascination of grace.

The gravity of grace works like the earth’s water system, which always flows from the highest to the lowest. Just as the waters of Niagara roll over the fall and plunge down to make a river below, and just as that river flows ever down to the even lower ranges of its course, then glides to still more low-lying areas where it brings life and growth, so it is with God’s grace. Grace’s gravity carries it to the lowly in heart, where it brings life and blessing. Grace goes to the humble.” from James by Kent Hughes

He believes in you.


And Light Will Come

by Claire Vorster on August 5, 2014

“It is not on what we spend the greatest amount of time that molds us the most, but whatever exerts the most power over us.” Oswald Chambers

who are you by psd, flikr

Far up in the Alpine hollows, snow-patches lie immense and indifferent to the world. In this remote wasteland, a tiny flower lies buried, while all life is bound by ice.

Our little flower? The Snowbell (or Soldanelle) it’s called. It could be you with a hundred weight of  pressure to bear. And when so much power is stacked high against you, what are your chances? No light, scarce provision, too bleak for anything to flourish. It’s hopeless really.

But what if this tiny Snowbell refuses to be cowed into giving up to the desolation. What if, deep within, it contains the means of a miracle?

Power comes in many forms, and just as hope can banish despair, warmth can banish ice. Yet if our flower is entombed in ice, how can there be any escape? After all, Summer is long gone and Winter reigns in all its merciless splendour.

But our flower is neither waiting for Summer, nor mourning the passing of the sun. You see, just as the bee collects sweet nectar, the Snowbell has spent all Summer collecting the sun’s warmth. Flattening its leaves to the ground so as to soak up every last drop.

And so the plant sleeps safe until, when Spring is but a whisper, the very first drop of water trickles through cracks in the frozen snow. Now our valiant flower begins to bud, and with the budding comes release of a little stored sunlight. Enough warmth to melt space, enough room to allow the flower to push trustingly towards light not yet present.

“As it grows up towards the light it continues to melt the snow, until at last it emerges into the fresh air, and down below the snow again freezes together round the stem. The flowers open, and when the snow disappears the little Soldanella is practically a full-grown plant with its blossoms open inviting the bees.” Johan Dierckx, Diversitas naturae

The same God who created the Snowbell, also brings the snow and ice. For how else would the tiny plant demonstrate its power to change its frozen tomb for life?

We too are prone to His Seasons, so when Winter comes let us neither wait for Summer, nor mourning the passing of the sun. You see, He is with us, and with Him come grace, mercy and love.

“It is not a matter of our equipment, but a matter of our poverty; not of what we bring with us, but of what God puts into us.” Oswald Chambers

Enough for us to draw on. Enough room for us to push trustingly towards light not yet present.

And light will come.

“Face it out to the end, cast away every shadow of hope on the human side as an absolute hindrance to the Divine, heap up all the difficulties together recklessly, and pile as many more on as you can find. Let faith swing out to Him. He is the God of the impossible.” Mrs Charles Cowman, Streams in the Desert

The light will come, my friend. It is promised.

He believes in you.



June 26, 2014

“In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t.” Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662), French mathematician, physicist, inventor and Christian philosopher Limitless We like what we see, Advertising works on us, TV, clothes, cars, homes. We do not like what we cannot see, This […]

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June 10, 2014

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” Maya Angelou We Do Not Belong We do not belong to those given up, Who hold their breath and hope, Those who are trying it […]

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The Rise And Fall

May 21, 2014

“…the rush of love and the surge of grief, the respite of peace and then fear again, the heart that beats and then lies still, the rise and fall and rise and fall of it all, the incoming and the outgoing, the infinite procession of life. And the ocean wraps the earth, a reminder. The […]

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A Life Or Death Kind Of Job

May 12, 2014

“The water carrier inflated his buffalo-skin water bag and plunged bravely into the river. He swam to the Emperor, holding out the water bag, and begged the Emperor to cling to it so that he could float across the river to safety. Both men held the bag and the water carrier protected the wounded Emperor […]

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Diving For Pearls

May 5, 2014

“With all the will in the world, Diving for dear life, When we could be diving for pearls.” from Shipbuilding by Elvis Costello We cannot see the wind, but we know of its work and its power. The wind can revive any stumbling, stifling day, it can carve its will onto a rock face and […]

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Seek, Desire, Find, Love

April 15, 2014

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” Chief Seattle, Native American, 1854 Wild animals do not show up on cue. They do not keep time by the minute, neither […]

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Out of the Ordinary

March 10, 2014

 “We can’t fall any further, If we can’t feel ordinary love, And we cannot reach any higher, If we can’t deal with ordinary love.” from Ordinary Love by U2 Ordinary love. How can love be ordinary? Surely love is felt deeply, passionately, all fizz and flutter. Love normally inspires lofty reach-for-the-sky lyrics doesn’t it? “Your […]

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When All Shall Be Well

February 25, 2014

“No matter what happens, no matter how many times you fail, all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.” 66 Love Letters by Dr. Larry Crabb It’s not all well now is it? I’m sure some things are OK for you and for those you love, as they are for this […]

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